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Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health and Human Services

People with disabilities meet more barriers and difficulties, when they start fighting addiction. In many cases addiction is justified by advocates for treatment, which assumes consumption of medical drugs.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides the list of factors, which contribute to the development of drug addiction among disabled population. These factors include:Department of Health and Human Services

 A greater potential for misusing prescription medications.
Physical pain and limited mobility related to a disability.
Enabling by care providers, families and communities.
Lack of accessible prevention and treatment services” (US Department of Health and Human Services).

In addition those, who have different kinds of spinal cord injuries fall in the category of additional risks, because the use of drugs or alcohol may cause additional damage  of  heart, liver, kidney and brain. Department of Health and Human Services

Statistics on addiction among disabled patients illustrates that the problem is serious.  According to the information, provided by Office of Disability, “10% of adults in the disabled population are affected by alcohol, and 5% have problems with drugs, which is greater than that of the non-disabled population” (ODS).


The problem needs careful study and investigation. From the one hand disabled people deserve an adequate treatment and they have access to pain relivers, in the case when no other methods are available. At the same time, it often becomes difficult to define the degree of pain they experience and this way it becomes difficult to distinguish possible lies and manipulation. Psychological aspect becomes of primary importance when it comes to addiction among people with disability. In many cases addiction becomes their coping mechanism, when they are left alone with their problems. Lack of information about drug or alcohol rehabilitation makes another important problem.  In some cases, people with different kinds of disabilities have no physical access to support groups and to literature on rehabilitation.

The National Association on Alcohol, Drugs and Disability makes everything possible to reduce barriers, which prevent people with disabilities from the chance to rehabilitation. Organization struggles to improve the quality of treatment of alcohol or drug addiction. In addition, organization makes attempts to give people with disabilities better access to information about the danger of drug and alcohol addiction and about possible ways of rehabilitation.Department of Health and Human Services

I strongly believe that people with disabilities should be provided with  all necessary treatment, including drug medication, if necessary. In addition, they should have the chance for quality rehabilitation, in the case they any kind of addiction. Timely informing can become one of the most important factors, which can contribute to the solution of the problem. People with disabilities should be aware about the effects of medical drugs, prescribed to them and about possible drug addiction. They also should know about the possibility of rehabilitation in the case, if the already have drug or alcohol addiction. Since the line between medically justified use of drugs and addition is very thin in the case of disabled patients, it is necessary to develop different kinds of tests and checkups, aiming to control the use of medical drugs. At this point, doctors should be properly informed about the problem of drug abuse. They should also present this information to their patients. They should let them know the list of drugs, which cause addition. They should also give necessary information about addiction, reasons and consequences. The doctors should also be aware of the medications, their patients take. Some patients may be not aware that they take medications which cause drug addiction. Proper information policy can become an effective reaction to the problem. Moreover, some patients may be not aware that they have addiction to certain medications they consume. At this point, health care professionals can provide them with necessary information and give them effective means to deal with the problem.  Usually additional control is named as one of the possible ways of dealing with the problem of medical drug abuse. Unified clinical standards for medical drugs and opioids prescription can also contribute to the problem solution. All health care professionals should be aware about unified norms and should follow the schema. This approach can decrease the chances for abuse in this sphere.Department of Health and Human Services


 At the same time, in the case with disabled patients, it becomes much harder to establish such control. In addition, some specialists believe that addiction can be justified by physical sufferings, which disabled patients often go through.  At this point, it is important to develop one reaction to the problem at the state level. Doctors and other medical personnel should be aware about the position of the state, which should be written in the for of legal regulations. The state should express its strong position to provide the best conditions for rehabilitation  of disabled patients. The state should provide all necessary physical and emotional support and put all possible effort to reduce the amount of addicted patients with disability. The Office on Disability, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, proclaimed reducing drug and alcohol addiction as one of its basic objectives. The united effort of healthcare professionals and people with disabilities can be used to reach this goal. I believe that fighting addiction is much harder than preventing it. It is crucially important to mind the emotional component of the problem. People with disabilities go through severe physical pain. In addition to physical pain, they often experience emotional sufferings, caused by physical limitations and physical pain. Working with physical aspect, it is important to pay attention to emotional support as well. Timely and quality emotional support, provided on different levels, can become effective mean of both – preventing and dealing with existing drug and alcohol addiction. People with disabilities should be able to get psychological support and help from professionals. In addition, they should not feel excluded from the society. At this point, it becomes the task and challenge for the entire society – to provide necessary help and support for people with disability.Department of Health and Human Services

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