Last Updated: February 2020. Author: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs, Vermont Department of Health
People may be identified as potentially needing substance abuse treatment in many different places such as primary care practices substance use disorder treatment providers, hospitals, emergency departments, and mental health practitioners.
The wide variety of places where substance use disorders are identified highlight the importance of coordinating care for those who may need help.
When an individual is identified by a provider as needing treatment for a substance use disorder (addiction), it can be difficult to get the individual to seek treatment. This may be due to a variety of perceived roadblocks such as the time it takes to access treatment, lack of transportation, inability to find childcare, etc. The most frequently cited reason for individuals not initiating treatment is the belief of the lack of a problem so treatment is perceived as unnecessary. Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, the sooner an individual seeks treatment, the more likely the person is to recover. Individuals with substance use disorders need to know where to get help (access), initiate treatment, and stay in treatment for long enough to recover (engagement). Providers can help by offering screening in their offices and talking with patients about substance use.