Why can’t someone just stop using drugs, even when they recognize it is harmful?

It is important to reframe how we view addiction. Once someone begins to regularly use drugs, their brain craves the substance more and more—even though they know it is bad for them. Researchers have compared diseases like diabetes to addiction showing that diabetes can strain the pancreas while addiction damages the brain.

If addiction is a disease, is it treatable?

Just like diabetes and heart disease, opioid use disorder is a treatable medical illness. There are medications for OUD that have been scientifically shown to be effective. People with chronic diseases use medication to manage their symptoms just like those with diabetes regularly rely upon insulin.

What stops a person from seeking help?

Unfortunately, there are many barriers to treatment, such as long waiting lists for treatment or inadequate insurance coverage, that can make it hard to get help. A person may not be able to take off work, they may not be able to afford treatment, or they are too scared to go by themselves. People may be ashamed, but it is important to know that recovery is possible.