“Addiction is finally coming out of its shadows. Thanks to interest from political leaders and media coverage about the ravages of heroin and misused prescription opioids, new attention is being paid to an old disease. But not since the 1980s with the appearance of HIV and AIDS has there been such misunderstanding about a medical condition.
Addiction is a brain disorder. Scientists have defined the neuroscience, identified genetic components, developed effective medical treatments for opioid and alcohol use disorder, and documented the chronic nature of substance use disorders with relapse risks and remission rates.
Yet public misunderstanding of addiction is profound. It is not yet recognized for the disease that it is. As a result, we continue to fill our jails with people with substance use disorders. Judges and parole officers make decisions about medications for offenders with opioid use disorder, which they would never think of doing for other medical conditions. And federal disability laws do not consider the presence of severe substance use disorders as sufficient criteria for receipt of disability benefits.
Why is this?
In large part, the misperception of opioid use disorder stems from a failure of language. We are boxed in by an outdated lexicon that reflects the unfortunate view of individuals with addiction as moral failures and criminals.”
Source: HuffingtonPost.com – April 21, 2015