A new look at D.C.'s alcohol and drug use 'epidemic' | Addiction Professional Magazine Skip to content Skip to navigation

A new look at D.C.'s alcohol and drug use 'epidemic'

February 2, 2012
by News release
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Misuse of alcohol and other drugs has reached epidemic proportions in the Washington, D.C. area, according to a recent Federal survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The District now ranks first in the nation for dependence and misuse of drugs or alcohol.  Nearly 9 1/2% of DC residents need but do not receive treatment for alcohol use, compared to the national average of about 7%.

Aquila Recovery Clinic, a new evidence-based outpatient addiction treatment facility, has just opened its doors to address this gap in treatment. Offering medically-supported outpatient treatment, Aquila Recovery Clinic reaches individuals in the early stages of their illness, helping prevent the loss of jobs, families and communities so common with individuals who don't receive treatment until the end stage of the illness.

In the District, most of those who receive treatment rely on publicly funded providers, an important safety net for those without insurance and at the end stage of their illness. Yet, according to an AFL-CIO report, among the nation's 16.4 million persons reporting heavy alcohol use, nearly 4 in 5 are full-time employees, most with private insurance.

"Our treatment shortfall reflects our overdependence on tax-payer financed treatment," according to Johnny W. Allem, founder and President of Aquila Recovery Clinic. "Private insurance providers have become much more committed to covering addiction treatment in recent years," Allem said, "because failing to address addiction in the early stages has driven huge increases in other critical diseases - including heart disease, diabetes, and emotional illness."

"Aquila Recovery's relationship with primary doctors is critical. When a primary care doctor conducts a screening and recommends Aquila, a path toward ending drug and alcohol dependence can begin," said Allem. Aquila supports the use of the Audit-C Screening Tool developed by the World Health Organization.

Experienced psychosocial professionals guide patients toward ending drug and alcohol dependence through an individualized recovery program. Following the initial assessment, individuals participate in composing a comprehensive 50-week treatment plan, including 16 weeks of intensive evening treatment programming, followed by 34 weeks of continued training and support building.  "We stay with each person until they reach their first anniversary of recovery," Allem said.

Aquila Recovery Clinic is located at the Van Ness metro station on Connecticut Avenue. Aquila welcomes business professionals, service workers, students, factory workers, and anyone who needs and wants a new beginning.