ALCOHOL AND DRUG FINES SHOULD SUPPORT MUSCís CENTER FOR DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROGRAMS
September 9, 2010
The cost and consequences of alcohol and substance use disorders place an enormous burden on American society in general, and on South Carolina in particular. As one of our nationís largest health problems, addiction strains the health care system, depresses the economy, devastates family life, threatens public safety, overwhelms our criminal justice system, and compromises national preparedness.
Scientific documentation defines alcohol and drug dependence as a disease that has roots in genetic susceptibility, leads to brain adaptation, and changes personal behavior. Alcohol and drug dependence affects all levels of society, genders, and races.
South Carolina alcohol and drug statistics, while similar to those for other states, are worse in some areas. For instance, in SC 50% of total traffic fatalities are alcohol-related, whereas the national average is 37%.
South Carolina Statistics (Sources available on request)
Cost of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in South Carolina is $2.5 billion/yr.
Alcohol and Drug-Related Violent Crime
Impact on the Workplace
Impact on Families
Medical University of South Carolinaís Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs (CDAP)
MUSCís Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs (CDAP) is a nationally-recognized research, academic and clinical center serving the citizens of SC and beyond. Within CDAP is one of only 15 alcohol research centers in the US funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which invests in our world-class research. Research on alcohol disorders, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine, has lead to a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that support addiction. This in turn has lead to new tests and treatments to better prevent and ameliorate suffering and economic costs. For the past several years, US News and World Report has ranked CDAP as one of the best drug and alcohol graduate programs in the country. Since its inception in 1995, CDAP has treated thousands of patients in free clinical trials and fee-for-service programs, translating research findings into the most modern care for addictions that exist nationally. Research conducted at CDAP has been the pride of MUSC and brought national recognition to South Carolina. However, the Center needs a stable and secure source of infrastructure funding to advance its science and to attract world-class investigators to our State.
In North Carolina, approximately $1 million per year from DUI fines goes to support the Alcohol Research Bowles Center at the University of North Carolina. This model of financial support would be transformational to the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs; it would help attract and retain new faculty, support growing indirect costs and infrastructure needs, and allow for new research initiatives to prevent and treat alcohol and drug use disorders.
Money from DUI Fines, open container fines, boating under the influence fines and drug-related fines and confiscations would provide much needed financial support to help us discover new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat alcohol and drug dependence, as well as help us reduce the stigma associated with the disease of addiction. Compared to other medical disciplines, addiction research is seriously underfunded even though it remains one of our greatest public health problems, as evidenced by the above statistics. This is, in large part, due to the stigma associated with alcohol and drug use disorders. We need to work together to change this way of thinking and expand funding opportunities. The citizens of South Carolina deserve better. We have the opportunity to provide that for them, for our nation, and the world. Please assist us in this goal by helping to define ongoing sources of State funding for the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina.