Surgeon General: Addiction is a Medical Issue, Not a Criminal One

Surgeon General Addiction Medical Issue - Freedom From Addiction

The Surgeon General recently released a report on the state of addiction to alcohol and drugs in the United States. This report found that alcohol and drug addiction is, in fact, "a chronic brain disease that has the potential for recurrence and recovery." Additional evidence shows that addiction is a three-stage cycle of binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative effect and preoccupation/anticipation. There are multiple predictors of substance abuse, and the report found that addiction treatment programs that address these predictors are more effective at preventing substance abuse and related issues. Community support was also found to be a powerful force in treating addiction across demographics. 

The Surgeon General's Findings on Addiction Treatment 

 Among the many findings in the Surgeon General's report, it was found that only 1 out of in 10 people with a substance abuse disorder receives specialized treatment. Substance abuse can be reliably identified and treated in a medical setting. This could have major policy implications as drug use has traditionally been treated as a criminal issue rather than a medical one, preventing many addicts from seeking and receiving the treatment they need. The Surgeon General's report found that residential, inpatient and outpatient treatment options are cost-effective in comparison to a lack of treatment, which should encourage policymakers to invest more in addiction treatment education and facilities. According to the report, more than 25 million people are currently in remission from addiction and leading healthy lives as a result of treatment. 

Addiction Across America 

Awareness of addiction-related issues and treatment options is spreading faster than ever, and Freedom From Addiction co-produced a docu-series to further this momentum. Addiction Across America is a web series produced with the hope of educating the public about the dangers of addiction and the possibility of long-term recovery. Series creators Ryan and Garret traveled from California to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to record their experiences as educators and treatment advocates. Ryan and Garret became acquainted during addiction treatment and put their first-hand knowledge of addiction-related issues to use in developing new opportunities for those who wish to succeed in recovery. The series follows the creators across 12 states as they engage with local communities and attempt to inform policymakers about the biggest obstacles and needs of those seeking addiction treatment. Over the course of the series, Ryan and Garret speak to people who have been incarcerated as a result of their addiction as well as those who have succeeded at long-term recovery and others who are still struggling with addiction. Addiction Across America is an important part of the national discussion on addiction as it shines a light on issues that many people have historically been afraid to talk openly about due to stigma and potential legal consequences. Only through honest discussion and inquiry can the findings in the Surgeon General's report evolve into practical change that helps those struggling with addiction come forward to receive the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives. Connecting with the right treatment solution to achieve recovery is crucial. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available. For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837. 

Sources: 

https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/ 

https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/key-findings/early-intervention

https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/executive-summary/report/early-intervention-treatment-and-management-substance-use-disorders

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