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How Drug Addiction Is Taking Over and What to Do About It

drug addict

Addiction, clinically known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex, chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by “drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.” Substance use disorder affects all areas of one’s life, as it can lead to strained relationships, financial hardship, employment challenges, legal complications, and emotional, physical, and psychological consequences. Addiction often requires a customized treatment plan that considers and addresses the symptoms, the underlying causes of the disease, as well as work with the individual to repair the damage that occurred in the various areas of her life as a direct result of her substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration estimates that 15.4% of all adult Americans struggle with a substance use disorder each year, which is equal to nearly 39 million people. The economic burden to accommodate substance abuse is immense, as it is estimated to cost society $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use each year in health care costs, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs.

How To Help

There are many ways to help combat substance use disorder on both micro and macro levels. On a macro level, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that to address and effectively prevent drug misuse it “demands a multi-sectoral response including public health, law enforcement, education, and social policy.” It is important to note that governing entities are working together to combat this universal issue. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which is recognized as the leading UN entity for countering the world drug problem, is currently working closely with the WHO to tend to the public health and human rights dimensions of global issues related to drugs. 

On the micro level, focusing on education and awareness is imperative to reduce the prevalence of addiction. Working towards eliminating the stigma surrounding addiction will help people become more receptive to and accepting of people struggling with this complex disease. The mission of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for example, is “to advance science on drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.” Drawing from empirical data, correcting erroneous myths regarding addiction, and teaching people about substance abuse and the cycle of addiction is the most effective way to help support the collective healing process.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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