Let’s Treat Addiction Like the Disease It Is.

The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center is fighting addiction with the aggressive approach a deadly disease demands.

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Addiction is a Disease

Addiction is a chronic disease with many risk factors, including genetics. Addiction changes brain structure and function. Characterized by repeated use of an addictive substance despite harmful consequences, prolonged substance use can cause changes to the brain, making it important that people with a substance use disorder receive treatment as quickly as possible. Early treatment is also important because people struggling with substance use often have other chronic health conditions which become more difficult to treat when addiction is present. But, there is effective treatment available for people with substance use disorders and most people can recover.

A Life-Saving Mission

The opioid epidemic is the most critical public health crisis of our time. One hundred and thirty people die from overdoses every day. More than 20 million Americans live with the disease of addiction. Boston Medical Center is a national leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), BMC aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths in heavily impacted communities by 40 percent over the next two years.

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Stopping the Stigma

Think of someone you know who battled a disease. How were they treated?

Were they supported? Did they receive the care they needed?

People with addiction are often blamed and not supported, largely driven by the belief that addiction is a choice or a character flaw, rather than a chronic disease. This stigma, which can prevent people from getting care, has dire consequences. In fact, effective treatment for addiction exists, but 88% of people with a substance use disorder don’t seek the care they need. Care that could save their lives. One way you can help break the cycle is by choosing non-stigmatizing language. While word changes might seem minor, they can make a world of difference in lives of millions of people struggling with addiction.

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