“It’s a medical condition. It’s not a moral choice.” Those words came from Dr. Robert Redfield as he spoke about addiction and the depth of the country’s opiate crisis. Dr. Redfield declared the opiate crisis the defining health problem of our time, surpassing AIDS in the toll taken in a single year. Contributing to the many overdose deaths has been fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid that is sometimes added to heroin.
Unity Place of Monmouth has sounded a similar message to the doctor’s, noting that people do not enter into addiction or mental illness by choice. The Oceanport facility, which recently opened a night-time Intensive Outpatient Program, stresses the importance of finding the right place to begin one’s recovery. The selection of a treatment facility is a vital decision and makes all the difference in whether recovery takes hold.
In spite of the many people from various backgrounds who become addicted to opiates, attitudes persist about addiction being something a person brings upon oneself. We have seen gains and some acceptance of addiction being an illness, as advances in addiction medicine increasingly shown how drug use alters brain chemistry. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, has successfully made use of brain imaging to illustrate the effect of prolonged drug use on the brain.
Unity Place of Monmouth will continue to work to broaden understanding about addiction as a disease and will continue to provide quality and appropriate treatment to help many with opiate or other forms of addiction make their way into lasting recovery.