Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the nation's most serious and persistent health problems.
-- Principles of Addiction Medicine, 2003
There are more treatments available. There is better understanding. There is more acceptance that addiction is a medical condition with real medical solutions than there ever has been.
-- A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., 2006
Untreated addiction costs lives, destroys families and poses an enormous drain on the economy. Yet public misunderstanding of this pernicious illness pervades the national consciousness.
HBO's Addiction Project demonstrates conclusively that this disease is treatable.
"Recovery for the addict is possible," writes HBO President of Documentary Programming Shelia Nevins in the project's companion book, Addiction (Rodale, 2007). But, she adds, recovery is "a monumental struggle" and facing addiction requires "a lifelong commitment by those who care."
Because of public confusion and uncertainty about addiction, and the enormous stigma of the disease, only 10 percent of the people in need of alcohol and drug treatment each year get help. As a result: