Removing the Stigma of Addiction: The Facing Addiction in America Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a groundbreaking report on addiction in America. Appropriately called “Facing Addiction in America,” the report aims to change the public perception of addiction by pointing out the scope of the problem, as well as the causes behind it and the reasons addicts are resistant to seeking help.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced the report saying, “…for far too long, too many in our country have viewed addiction as a moral failing. This unfortunate stigma has created an added burden of shame that has made people with substance use disorders less likely to come forward and seek help.”
The report’s findings are bleak, with 27 million people reporting either illicit drug use or prescription pill misuse in 2015. Another 66 million people reported binge drinking. Alcohol misuse accounted for 88,000 deaths per year as of 2015.
The report acknowledges the substantial evidence that addiction is a disease. Like other diseases the goal is to recover: to get treatment, and again be an effective, productive individual in family, community, work, and life. At Infinite Recovery, we call this approach to total life transformation the 8 Dimensions of Wellness.
The report reminds us that addiction results from a biological response that encourages some substance users to continue in spite of negative consequences.
“Addiction — if you put all cancers together — addiction is more pervasive than cancer” said Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, director of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. “The sheer magnitude of the health crisis should encourage people to reconsider their perceptions.”
Recognizing the biological aspect of addiction also means that we should see a shift to more evidence-based treatments. It may include medication-assisted therapies and abstinence-only programs. Only since June 2016 have Texans been able to obtain naloxone, which is used to block the effects of opioids, keep drug overdoses from being fatal, without a prescription. At Infinite Recovery, we provide our clients and their families with naloxone and education on how to use it. Naloxone is also available over the counter at Walgreen’s pharmacies across Texas.
Intervention and Treatment are Still In Bad Shape
In 2016, very few people got the treatment they needed for addiction. According to the Facing Addiction in America Report, just 10 percent of individuals with substance use disorders receive any type of specialty treatment. Compounding this problem is the prevalence of mental illness among individuals with substance use disorders. Forty percent of those with substance use disorders also have a mental health condition, but only half of those individuals receive treatment for either condition. In other words, accessibility to treatment remains alarmingly low.
We strive to be a part of the change and provide quality treatment to as many Americans as possible, including those close to you. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction of any kind, get help now. We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.