Drug Facts

Understanding Addiction

It is generally accepted that chemical dependency, along with associated mental health disorders, has become one of the most severe health and social problems facing the United States. *

  • Each of us is born with a "natural supply of endorphins." Some of us are born with more; some are born with less. Each person maintains and utilizes these chemicals differently.
  • Endorphins help us to feel good or bad, anxious or relaxed, reduce pain and increase pleasure. We need an adequate supply at all times.
  • Those individuals with fewer natural endorphins find themselves drawn to chemicals. The continued use of these substances without appropriate medical supervision can lead to addiction.

Chemical dependency is a brain disease in which the neurochemistry and receptor sites of the brain change, causing the need for drugs to become as biologically driven as the need to eat and breathe.

Scientists suspect that genetics play a role in making certain people more susceptible to this disease.

Chemical dependency can be compared to other chronic diseases like diabetes. They will not go away on their own, and only get worse without proper treatment.

What are the Consequences of Addiction?

  • Statistics show that a single male addict cost taxpayers $2.1 million over 11 years of court costs, jail time, emergency room visits, hospital care, ambulances etc.
  • The amount of suffering caused by drug and alcohol abuse is suggested by a troubling statistic: in 38% of recent Child Protective Services referrals, substance abuse among parents and caretakers is identified as an issue, and social workers believe the true prevalence is probably even higher.
  • Approximately 70% of illegal drug users are employed and contribute significantly to workplace absenteeism, accidents and injuries, decreased productivity, increased insurance expenses, employee turnover costs, and on-the-job violence.

* Source: SAMHSA U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration