Substance abuse is commonly viewed as a choice. Your child, parent or friend chose to pick up that drug. They are making poor decisions. Why can’t they just quit? Addicts feel like they are failing themselves and their loved ones. Patients and providers need to know that addiction is a treatable disease not a moral failing. “It is not a moral failing, or evidence of a character flaw, but a chronic disease of the brain that deserves our compassion and care,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, said.
Addiction is a disease. Just like diabetes is a disease. It is something they suffer with for the rest of their lives. Once they start, they cannot simply stop. The substance hijacks the brain, changing the communication and dopamine levels. Taking the drug activates the pleasure response and makes those addicted feel normal. By educating your family and friends about the science behind addiction, we can help those who are suffering find peace and long-term solutions.
Pharmaceutical companies have an important role in ending the opioid epidemic. By educating doctors on the addictive behaviors certain medications can cause, we will help mitigate a rapidly growing problem that is addiction. Once doctors are educated, the over-prescribing of medications will slow down and patients will be treated for pain correctly.
Drugs have been wreaking havoc in our society since mankind. The effects of drugs such as opium, heroin and cocaine can have long lasting damage to your brain and even personality. 12 step programs must be revamped in order to allow for medically assisted treatments to help patients find recovery.
You can share this information to better educate people who lack knowledge about addiction. You may even help someone from falling victim to this disease. Knowledge is power in supporting an end to this epidemic. And it all starts with one person.
Written by: Casey Semenza and Jessica Ferrarelli