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Life in Recovery Survey Highlights Statistical Benefits of Sobriety

New addiction study shows domestic violence is fuelled by substance abuse.

An Australian first, The Life In Recovery Survey, has shown that drug and alcohol addicts are 60 per cent more likely to be involved in domestic violence than someone who is in recovery from their addiction.

This statistic is just one aspect of an addict’s life that can change once in recovery, which is highlighted in the new study. Undertaken by leading addiction treatment facility, South Pacific Private and alcohol and drug treatment and research centre, Turning Point, the survey of 573 current and recovered drug and alcohol addicts provides a startling contrast between living with addiction and life in recovery.

General Manager of South Pacific Private, Claire Barber said, “This is the first time this type of survey has been conducted in Australia. It has confirmed many things we knew anecdotally about the crippling effects drug and alcohol addiction but never before had firm evidence of.

“There is no doubt treating addiction has more beneficial outcomes for the individual as well as the community, for instance, a significant reduction on the reliance of healthcare services.” 

“The survey results showed recovering addicts are 22 per cent less likely to frequent emergency health departments and frequently use healthcare services. In fact, once in recovery, people tend to lead much healthier lifestyles with 78 per cent exercising regularly and 82 per cent adopting healthier eating habits.” 

“Drug addiction is a crippling disease and takes a huge emotional toll on families and communities. Up until now, the focus has been on stemming the use and supply of drugs. What this report points to more than anything else, is that now is the time to focus on treatment and recovery,” added Ms Barber.

The Australian Life In Recovery Survey critically examined the impact of recovery on people’s lives and provided a basis for understanding, comparing and mapping recovery experiences across different groups and populations.

Associate Professor at Turning Point, David Best said, “The survey looked at the major areas of life and well being including finance, family and social life, health, legal issues and work and study. The figures showed the severity that substance addiction has not just on an individual, but also on the community.”

“For example, the data showed those in recovery were 75 per cent less likely to drive while under the influence, 40 per cent more likely to get involved in a community or civic group, 25 per cent more likely to pay taxes and 53 per cent less likely to miss school or work.”

“It is clear policy makers need to acknowledge and recognise the key role recovery programs play in the initiation and sustainability of recovery journeys and how this benefits the wider society,” added Professor Best.

The Australian Life In Recovery Survey also made a number of policy recommendations to ensure that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is addressed at a federal, state and local level, and also recognised and celebrated by policy makers, professionals and the general public. These include greater policy and funding for recovery support services and aftercare organisations.

The story of drug and alcohol addiction recovery is only starting to be told. We have much work to do. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition, however, this report provides much needed hope that recovery and a better life is possible for the many people suffering from addiction,” added Ms Barber.

Survey participants included both current and past sufferers of drug and alcohol addiction from all walks of life.

To read the full report click here.

About South Pacific Private:
South Pacific Private is Australia’s leading mental health and addiction treatment facility offering inpatient and day programs to treat anxiety disorders, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioural addictions, alcohol addiction and substance abuse. Treatment at South Pacific Private offers the best possibility of recovery through its multidisciplinary, tailored programs which are designed to meet the individual needs of clients. www.southpacificprivate.com.au

About Turning Point:
Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre is a specialist treatment centre designed to provide leadership to the drug and alcohol field in Victoria, Australia. Turning Point is part of the International Network of Drug Treatment & Rehabilitation Resource Centres for the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime (UNODC), and a member of the International Harm Reduction Association. The organisation integrates activities across a diverse range of specialist knowledge and professional practice which facilitates the translation of evidence based research into action.  www.turningpoint.org.au