How to Get Help for Widespread Drug Use Disorder

How to Get Help for Widespread Drug Use Disorder

In the 2002 made-for-TV movie, The Secret Life of Zoe, Julia Whelan (Zoe) plays a teenager whose divorced mother (Mia Farrow) and father (Cliff De Young) are trying to deal with their daughter’s long-hidden addiction to painkillers. It was an early look at the growing epidemic of opioid abuse that’s become a national health crisis.

These days, according to a large U.S. National Institutes of Health survey, 10 percent of Americans have had a drug use disorder (DUD) and four percent are currently struggling with use of narcotic pain medicines, marijuana, amphetamines, club drugs (such as Ecstasy), heroin, cocaine, sedatives and tranquilizers.

But only one quarter of folks with DUD are getting help -- and that’s a shame because the health risks of abuse are huge (over 200 people die every day from drug overdose). Treatment and recovery save lives and allow people to reclaim a productive life. So, if you’re struggling with drug use, here’s info that can help you move toward sobriety:

  • Addiction affects neural brain receptors and is a treatable disease. Want to find a treatment option in your area? Go online to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
  • No single treatment is appropriate for everyone, but counseling -- individual and/or group -- and other behavioral therapies plus certain medications can be helpful. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry has a doctor listing at www.aaap.org.
  • And you may be interested in participating in a clinical trial of a new approach to drug treatment. If so check out the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network.

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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