Addiction Myths and Facts


Substance use disorders are associated with discrimination and social disapproval—more so than any other medical condition. The stigma and shame of addiction take hundreds of lives, every day. You may have heard some of the comments below from friends, family, or even the media. The next time you hear one of these addiction myths, respond with the facts.

Myth: "Addiction only happens to certain kinds of people."
Addiction can happen to anyone, no matter their upbringing, personality type, or grade point average. There are genetic, social, and psychological risk factors that put some at greater risk—but it has nothing to do with a person’s character.

Myth: "Kids should just say no."
Fact: The reality is that the majority of American teenagers report they’ve tried alcohol, and many experiment with other drugs, too. No one chooses how their brain will react to substances after that.

Myth: "Medication-assisted treatment replaces one addiction with another."
Fact: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been proven to save lives and substantially improve recovery rates. For people in treatment for substance use disorders, medications ease withdrawal symptoms and prevent overdoses. Medication doesn’t create a high or cause impairment.

Myth: "People with addiction are hopeless.”
Fact: Many people can and do recover from addiction. We just don’t hear their stories as often. Once treatment begins, someone with a substance use disorder can move on to manage the disease, just as they would any other chronic illness. With the right treatment, recovery is possible for everyone.
Learn more about the science of addiction here. Remember, knowledge is power. Use yours to educate the people in your life and your community about the disease of addiction.
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