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National Recovery Month: Those With Substance Abuse Problems Rarely Seek Help

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Alone in the Dark
(Photo : Getty Images, Andrea Zanchi) Man desperate and alone in the dark

A new survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSA) has shown that only 11 percent of people (ages 12 and up) who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse actually got help in 2013. 

Drug and alcohol addicts often see that there are only three ways out, according to the Times Union. You either die, go to prison or you take a maintenance drug (like methadone) for the rest of your life.

Emanuel Donato, 33, was a heroin addict for years and is searching for a fourth way out. He has been clean for five years, but he says drugs like heroin will make you "Scarred for life."

"I'm trying to fix all the mistakes I made," said Donato, released from state prison in July 2013. Donato served time for felony drug sale and possession. He also must complete three additional years of supervised parole.

Heroin, for Donato, was unlike anything he'd ever felt before. However, he did not know that heroin would completely ruin his life. 

Instead of taking the "easy way out" and continuing to use and sell drugs, Donato went to a rehab facility, as mandated by the state, and he works out for a couple hours each day.

The number of people with substance abuse problems climbed between 2012 and 2013. In 2012 the estimated number of people with substance abuse problems was 22.2 million. 

Of the reported 22.7 million people who are known to have substance abuse problems in 2013, only 2.5 million sought out treatment at a facility.

The facilities that SAMSA included in this survey were rehabilitation facilities with inpatient and outpatient opportunities. The survey excluded any treatment given in the emergency room, according to PBS

The reasons for not seeking help remained generally the same. The top two reasons were a lack of health insurance (37.3 percent) and not being able to stop using (24.5 percent).

Among other reasons for not seeking treatment, many say they did not know where to get treatment. 

The survey is released annually. September is National Recovery Month.  

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