Addiction costs businesses, governments billions annually

Addiction costs businesses, governments billions annually

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LUBBOCK, Texas - State and federal governments spend billions of dollars on substance abuse services. 

"I'm surprised the cost isn't more," addiction specialist Charlie McMordie said.

Along with the monetary impact, it also affects office morale. 

"Presentism, is one of them, which is kind of a term that's not well known. It's being at work, but not being at work, so to speak. Absenteeism, poor job performance, all sorts of other improprieties can come as a result of substance use," McMordie said.

Experts at the Conference of Addiction, Recovery, and Families said it takes an entire team to treat addiction.

"It's definitely not treated in a silo," eating disorders specialist Emmy Lu Henley said. "You need therapists, you need medical advisors, PCP, psychiatrist, mental health professionals, nutritional professionals, a whole gambit of individuals to help buffer any of the cross addiction. But yes, it's very very complex."

Henley said without learning about the psychology effect, the only thing being treated is the symptom and not the root of the problem. This can lead to a relapse. 

"We know at this point that these things are neurologically based, and that we really need to do some intensive psychological work to rewire the brain in ways that help us function in a healthy way our entire life and then we stop using the symptoms," Henley said.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2014, an estimated 22.5 million Americans ages 12 and older self-reported needing treatment for alcohol or illicit drug use. In Texas, alcohol is the primary drug of abuse. 

"The biggest thing is that nobody is doing this alone, and there are many people out there that are struggling and many, many people that are there to help who really do understand what their experience is," Henley said.

If you need help, call 1-88-633-3239 or go to

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