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Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drug change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive behaviors.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Revised July 2014

Opioid addiction is the dependence on drugs used to manage pain. According to a study from 2008 to 2010, 82% of people who used heroin reported that their initial drug was a prescription opioid.

You Are Not Alone. Opioid addiction is a national epidemic in the United States. In 2013 almost 2.5 million Americans were dependent or abused prescription painkillers or heroin. Nearly 25,000 of these cases resulted in death. In 2009 there were more than 13,000 infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

Characteristics of Opioid Users
61% Male57% College
51%28% High School
 15% No High School
35% 18-29 years48% Less than $35k
37% 30-44 years33% $35-70k
28% 45-older20% >$70k

Millions of Americans are at risk for opioid addiction, opioid overdrose, and death. You may be at risk if you:

  • If you have been taking prescription opioids for chronic pain over a prolonged period of time.
  • If you are illegally using heroin or painkillers
  • If you have a family history of opioid use or abuse
  • If you abuse more than one drug at a time.
  • If you are unable to stop using drugs when you want
  • If you experience withdrawal when you stop using
  • If you engage in illegal activities to obtain drugs
  • If you are experiencing medical problems as a result of your drug use (eg, memory loss, hepatitis, convulsions, bleeding)

If you can answer yes to any of these questions during the past 12 months, talk to your doctor about the next steps and the options available to you. Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) may be recommended.

Medical and Behavioral treatments may be the key components in the management of your opioid addiction and your road to recovery.


A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self directed life, and strive to reach their full potential

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Recovery from substance dependence is a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.”

The Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel
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