Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Drug and alcohol abuse affect every state in a number of ways, addiction itself is costly for the addict, but, it is just as costly for the state - if not more. Billions of taxpayers' dollars goes to researching the complex nature of addiction in an attempt to better help those suffering get the help that they need. In Oklahoma, where the most recent governor’s task force determined that the heavy toll of drug and alcohol abuse cost the state as much as $4.38 billion in 2003 and that each year more than 6,500 students in Oklahoma schools of higher learning drop out because of problems with addiction.
This fall at Oklahoma City University, a five-year addiction prevention studies program will start. With the help of a $500,000 donation from Jack Turner, who is on the board for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service, as well as worked on two governor’s task forces regarding addiction. The program will be taught in OCU’s Petree College of Arts and Sciences and the Dean hopes to make this a permanent program. People need to be made aware of the far reaching effects addiction has on society, without programs like these we will never get ahead of the problem.
Hopefully the five year program can be made permanent and it will help shed some light on addiction. States need to work educating their citizens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as let them know that there is help even if someone cannot afford it. Maybe if people who didn't suffer from addiction were more informed on how addiction adversely affects the state’s economy they would feel the need to reach out to help - studies like these should help facilitate that goal. Oklahoma is just one small state that is a part of a global problem.