Approximately 23 million people in the United States, including people with disabilities, need treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), a major behavioral health disorder. In addition, more than 24 million adults in the United States experienced serious psychological distress in 2006. People with and without disabilities may face many of the same barriers to substance abuse treatment, such as lacking insurance or sufficient funds for treatment services, or feeling they do not need treatment. In addition, people with disabilities may face other barriers to SUD treatment, particularly finding treatment facilities that are fully accessible. Vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors, vocational education providers, and others who work with people with disabilities report that their clients with SUDs have less successful vocational outcomes than clients without SUDs. To improve outcomes, it is important that clients with disabilities and SUDs receive services for both conditions and that the disabilities do not prevent clients from receiving treatment for SUDs. This In Brief is intended to help people who work with people
with physical and sensory disabilities—hearing loss, deafness, blindness, and low vision—to better understand SUDs and assist their clients in finding accessible SUD treatment services.