Pubdate: Sun, 23 Sep 2007
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
Copyright: 2007 Battle Creek Enquirer
Bookmark: (Treatment)


The problem of addiction is much easier to ignore than to confront. 
As a nation, we tend to marginalize those who fuel their bodies with 
drugs or alcohol. We're more inclined to show pity or disdain, rather 
than understanding. "Why can't they just stop?" we often ask, without 
really pursuing an answer.

But our society pays dearly for addiction in terms of broken lives, 
dysfunctional families, unproductive workplaces and unsafe streets.

Perhaps if we were willing to better understand the issue, we could 
make better progress in helping people recover.

The Substance Abuse Council's Celebrate Recovery Committee on 
Thursday held a town hall forum. The event included a screening of 
the HBO documentary series "Addiction," as well as a panel discussion 
as part of Celebrate Recovery Month during September. It was one of 
many similar public forums being held across the country to educate 
people about addiction.

Among the points that the sessions seek to convey is that addiction 
is not a "choice," but rather a disease of the brain, caused by a 
variety of genetic and psychosocial factors.

Overcoming addiction is not a matter of "will power" but rather of 
seeking help through a number of evidence-based medical and 
behavioral treatments. The technology of brain imaging has allowed 
scientists to see how the brain of an addicted person is affected by 
the addiction. This has led to the development of effective treatments.

Such treatments are not sudden, "miracle" cures but rather usually 
involve sustained efforts related to a scientific-based regimen 
monitored by health professionals.

In addition to treatment, family and friends often are vital in 
overcoming addiction - just as a person with any disease benefits 
from the support of those close to them.

That is why it is important that we all try to better understand 
addiction and its implications. Addiction is far more prevalent than 
most of us want to admit. It is estimated that one in four Americans 
has a family member who is struggling with the disease. And while 
there are approximately 23.2 million Americans who need treatment for 
illicit drug or alcohol abuse problems, only about 10 percent 
actually receive treatment.

We need to do a better job of helping those who want to overcome 
addiction. The first step is creating a better understanding of the issue.

The town hall sessions involving the HBO series are a project of, a partnership of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions 
of America, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and Join Together.

If you missed last Thursday's session sponsored by the Substance 
Abuse Council, the information also is available at You can go online to view the HBO series, as 
well as how to get involved in helping fight addiction in your community. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake