Graphic Nat Health Center Week

Health Care for the Homeless Day

National Health Center Week continues through Saturday, focusing on community health centers and the clients they serve. Today is designated Health Care for the Homeless Day. 

Community health centers are accessible to all in the community, but some special populations, such as the homeless, need more care. A common belief is that all or most of the homeless are addicted to drugs and/or mentally ill. That’s not true, but their rate is higher than the general population.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates, in 2003, the percentage of homeless people with a substance use disorder was 38% for alcohol and 26% for all other drugs. Meanwhile, 15% of all people ages 12 and older reported using drugs in the past year and only 8% within the last month. 

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) reported that 1.3 million homeless individuals receive care at health centers. If those percentages stand, that’s almost half a million people who need treatment for alcohol use disorder and 330,000 who need treatment for drug abuse. 

If community health centers weren’t there, offering accessible, quality, and comprehensive care,  locally and creatively, with the assistance of NHCHC and other sponsors, the opioid crisis would probably be worse. 

More information is available at National Health Care Week and National Health Care for the Homeless Council

Sources – Bipolar and Alcohol Symptoms – Substance Abuse and Homelessness – What Is Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Day? – Alcohol Abuse and Addiction – National Health Center Week – Working to End Homelessness by Ensuring Health Care and Housing for All

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