This April was a busy month for everyone working in the field of addiction medicine. If you follow our blog, then you know that Alcohol Awareness Month takes place every year at this time, as part of broad effort to educate young people about the dangers of substance use and the options available for individuals living in the grips of addiction. The most effective way to save lives is through efforts to end the stigma of addiction and encourage those affected by it to seek treatment, without fear of social ridicule or consequences.
The findings of the most recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey, which includes 1,054 adults, reveals views about addiction that should be some cause for concern. While most people (53 percent) consider prescription drug addiction as a disease and 13 percent have lost a relative or close friend to an opioid overdose, less than 1 in 5 Americans say they are willing to associate closely with someone, who is addicted, including friends, colleagues, and neighbors.
It is unlikely that anyone could find a comparable figure concerning another disease, such as diabetes. The AP-NORC survey is a clear indicator that We still have a long way to go regarding addiction. Some other findings of interest are worth relating, such as:
- 32 percent say opioid addiction is caused by a character defect or bad parenting.
- Forty-four percent say opioid addiction indicates a lack of willpower or discipline.
- Fifty-five percent of respondents favoring a “crackdown” on people misusing drugs.
A silver lining: two-thirds say policy-makers should expand access to addiction treatment.
National Addiction Treatment Week 2018
There is little doubt that expanding access to addiction treatment will save lives. People can recover from mental illness and lead productive and fulfilling lives, as long as they have encouragement and help in doing so. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), et al., designates April 23rd through April 29th as National Addiction Treatment Week. ASAM would like everyone’s help in raising awareness that “addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and more clinicians need to enter the field of Addiction Medicine in order to treat the nationwide epidemic.”
Throughout the week events are taking place all over the United States and online (via webinars) to educate people about the merits of addiction treatment and what it takes for people to get into the field. One of the aims this week is to work toward decreasing the stigma of addiction to increase access to evidence-based addiction treatments.
“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM.
In fact, we can all have a hand in chipping away at the stigma of addiction and encouraging those suffering to seek help. You can take to social media this week, using the hashtags: #TreatmentWeek or #TreatAddictionSaveLives
Millions suffer from the disease of addiction, yet only 1 in 10 receive treatment. We must raise awareness that although addiction is a disease, treatments are available & recovery is possible. #TreatmentWeek
In the United States, over 20.5 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder, yet only 1 in 10 people in the US with the disease of addiction receive treatment. #TreatAddictionSaveLives
Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder Treatment
We hope that everyone will join Hope By The Sea in helping end the stigma of surrounding mental illness. If drugs and alcohol are negatively impacting your life, please contact Hope By The Sea. Let us help you start the process of recovery and provide you with the tools for achieving long-term recovery.