Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Addiction is a Disease of the Brain

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Growing up in the 1980's, I remember very vividly hearing about the 'war on drugs'.  I was too young and naive to truly understand all the parameters of this huge social issue at the time.  Now, having worked at an alcohol and drug detox center for the past 5 years, I understand substance abuse from a whole different angle; namely, the disease model. 

Research is showing that the origin of substance abuse is most likely a disease of the brain not a result of bad character, immoral choices, and selfish behavior on the part of the addict/alcoholic.  To be sure, when people are in full, active addiction they often make immoral, selfish choices.  However, what is clear, is most people do not set out to destroy their life or other people's lives from their alcohol and/or drug use.  It has to be set off which is where the brain disease piece comes in.  It lays dormant until it is set off and unfortunately no one knows whether their brain is set up for addiction until it is often too late.  

It appears the Obama administration is trying to take a step in the right direction in the war on drugs by utilizing the science of the disease model of addiction as the foundation for policy decisions.  In fact, the administration just released a National Drug Policy Strategy that emphasizes public health approaches to this national problem.  To be sure, people need to be held accountable for their actions.  Kids should not be able to buy drugs from a drug dealer after school on the playground.  However, many drug dealers are addicts themselves simply trying not to go into withdrawal although their method is selfish and hurtful to others.  It is a complicated problem demanding a multifaceted solution.  Prison, it seems, is not solving the problem.  For more information, you can read the report summary here!

If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1.877.773.3869 today.  We're here to help you get clean and stay clean! 

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