Butte Glenn Medical Society

Understanding & Recognizing Addiction

Understanding & Recognizing Addiction

What is Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine recognizes addiction as a "treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences" (Adopted by the ASAM Board of Directors September 15, 2019).

ASAM
established a Descriptive and Diagnostic Terminology Action Group to conduct extensive research on terminology challenges specifically pertaining to addiction, recovery, treatment and unhealthy substance use. Using clear language and terminology is critaically important throughout communication between medical practitioners, their patients and clients, and the general public. Using appropriate terminology that is not only medically correct, but also sensitive to the challenges that come with addiction medicine, such as stigma, buiding trusting relationships with patients, access barriers to care and how to appropriately have tough conversations between the patient and care provider.


How do people misuse prescription opioids?

Long-term use of opioids, even as prescribed by a doctor, can cause some people to develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects.

Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and long-lasting changes in the brain. The changes can result in harmful behaviors by those who misuse drugs, whether prescription or illicit drugs.


2018 California Opioid Summit Video at Chico State

Check out this video about last year’s opioid summit. To view slideshows, please click here
2018 California Opioid Summit from Eventide Visuals on Vimeo.
Understanding the National Epidemic
From 1999-2017, almost 400,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids. This rise in opioid overdose deaths can be outlined in three distinct waves.

  • The first wave began with increased prescribing of opioids in the 1990s, with overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone) increasing since at least 1999.
  • The second wave began in 2010, with rapid increases in overdose deaths involving heroin.
  • The third wave began in 2013, with significant increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids – particularly those involving illicitly- manufactured fentanyl (IMF). The IMF market continues to change, and IMF can be found in combination with heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine.
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