Addiction is a complicated and dangerous disease. Getting out from under the terrifying grip of drug or alcohol abuse takes more than willpower or good intentions. Drugs and alcohol alter the way the brain works, affecting normal perceptual, emotional and motivational processes in the brain.
We know addiction is expensive. Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, testified before congress in 2007 that drug abuse and addiction costs are estimated to exceed half a trillion dollars annually in the United States, including health, crime-related costs, and losses in productivity. 
These costs only begin to reveal the extreme burden that addiction places on American society. One out of every 100 U.S. citizens is now behind bars. Almost 80% of these individuals abuse drugs or alcohol and nearly one-half are clinically addicted
In spite of the most tragic and harmful consequences, most addicts, without intervention, will pursue their habit to the gates of death or institutionalization. Even with every reason to stop using, a true alcoholic or drug addict will often find the task impossible. When you ask them why they do it, if you catch them in a moment of rare honesty, they are likely to tell you the truth—that they have no more idea why than you do.
It’s nothing short of terrifying to be compelled to something so dangerous. Imagine how lives could be changed if these same men and women could grasp sobriety and hold to it for a period of time long enough to really change their foundation for living. It is not beyond possibility. We’ve had the incredible opportunity to be a part of making this a reality for residents of Puente House, and we are here to share that path with you. When an addict can be saved from a life of addiction, everybody wins.
 Norah D. Volkow, M.D., Transition Paper, 2008 (http://www.cpdd.vcu.edu/Pages/Index/Index_PDFs/TransitionPaperOctober20081.pdf)
 Volkow, Transition Paper