About 1 in 7 Americans reports having a substance use disorder. There may not be a family in this country that hasn’t been touched by the realities of addiction.
Addiction (or substance use disorder) is a treatable medical condition, but treatment can only start when someone recognizes their addiction and knows help is available. Recognizing one’s addiction and asking for help isn’t easy, and we all have a responsibility to help eliminate the stigma around it.
Despite addiction impacting so many people, stigma still remains a problem. Stigma, whether caused by bias, purposeful exclusion, or a lack of understanding, is harmful. Stigma can be the barrier between people and the help they need. Everyone deserves to get the support they need to recover from addiction free of stigma and judgment.
We can decrease stigma and increase compassion for those experiencing addiction by understanding that drug use can be the result of many factors beyond an individual’s control. When we make assumptions about someone’s addiction, we fail to create a safe, welcoming space for them to seek help.
Meaningful recovery can start with safe spaces created by an open and loving community. When you understand the realities of addiction and the various treatments available, you can save a life.
Treatment leads to recovery
Medication, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient counseling, and long-term support group participation are all treatments for substance use disorders. Importantly, FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. MOUD have been found effective in helping people overcome addiction, stay in recovery longer, and prevent reoccurrence of use.
It’s important to realize that a person in recovery — even years into recovery — may experience a recurrence of drug use. Because of this, your support at all points during treatment and recovery is important.
Recovery starts in the community
Recovery Month brings together people from all over to better understand and reduce the harms caused by substance use disorders (SUD) in the United States. If you’re interested in learning more about SUDs, how they function as a medical disease, and treatment and recovery options, visit CDC’s Stop Overdose website.