According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is "a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences."
Here are a few facts about addiction:
- No single factor can explain why some people become addicted to drugs and others do not. Addiction is shaped by a person's environment, genetics, and development.
- Addiction changes the structure and function of the brain. These changes can seriously impact a substance user's self-control and induce intense cravings and an urge to use over and over again.
-Addiction is treatable, but often requires a long-term commitment to medication, counseling, or both.
-Treatment is most effective when it addresses the whole person, not just the addiction.
-Substance misuse and addiction carry a number of risks, ranging from lost productivity to fatal overdose. Drug overdoses account for more than 70,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Every life lost to addiction is a life worth remembering. "Celebrating Lost Loved Ones," a project by the National Safety Council, memorializes the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and colleagues lost to the opioid epidemic. This map is a reminder that addiction does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, or geography.
Educate yourself about the signs of drug misuse today.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), the combined use of medication and counseling, is the current gold standard for treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). While methadone has been used in outpatient settings for decades, other medications, including buprenorphine and naltrexone, are commonly prescribed options with proven safety and effectiveness. Suboxone and Vivitrol are two recognized brands.Patients and providers surveyed by SAMHSA about the effectiveness of burprenorphine "reported an average of an 80% reduction in illicit opioid use, along with significant increases in employment, and other indices of recovery." The World Health Organization recognizes both buprenorphine and methadone as essential medicines.
Click here to read recovery success story. Testimonial courtesy of SAMHSA/ATTCN