Earlier this year, Wisconsin’s junior Senator, Tammy Baldwin (D), publicly spoke about her mother’s addiction with prescription drugs and the impact on her life. Her comments came with the hope that increased dialog about addiction can help support families suffering with addiction problems as the opioid crisis continues to plague our nation. Addiction unfortunately remains a taboo subject and is seldom discussed, in part because of a misunderstanding of what addiction really is.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, many people “may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower.” Coupled with related sociological issues such as unemployment and homelessness, victims of addiction are often seen as a nuisance. Rather, addiction is defined as a chronic disease afflicting parts of the brain that can manifestas cravings, lack of control, or an inability to recognize problems with oneself and other relationships (American Society of Addiction Medicine). Thus, it needs to be treated as a serious medical condition. It is also important to understand that addiction goes beyond just substances but includes a whole host of other actions such as gambling, sex, eating, exercise, and gaming (the latter being very recently added to the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems).
To put the sunlight on this public health issue, our social media team will be sharing addiction related content on our Facebook and Twitter feeds during the months of July and August. Furthermore, the topic of discussion for July’s Science Policy Journal Club will be the opioid epidemic. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and join us for journal club, which will be held on July 25, 2018 at 5:30 PM in 179 HF DeLuca Biochemistry Laboratories.