Learn About Addiction,
Treatment, and Recovery

Because addiction, treatment, and recovery are widely misunderstood and subject to many myths and misconceptions, it is important to understand these terms.

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use despite harmful consequences. When a disease is chronic, that means it’s long-lasting. Other examples of chronic diseases are asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Learn more about addiction.

Treatment helps people stop using drugs and fight urges to use drugs again. It can include counseling, medicine, or both. It can also help them take back control of their lives. Learn more about treatment.

Recovery from addiction means a person has stopped using drugs and learned new ways of dealing with problems. Someone in recovery is making positive changes in their health, social activities, and values. Because drug addiction is a brain disorder, recovery from a drug addiction can continue through someone’s whole life. Learn more about recovery.

Use Accurate, Respectful
Language

Addiction is a disease. It’s important that we use language that frames it as a health issue and shows respect to people with addiction and to their loved ones – just as we would with any other disease, like diabetes or asthma. By avoiding negative labels like “junkie” or “addict” and using more accurate language like “a person with addiction” or “a person with substance use disorder,” we can help reverse harmful stereotypes that are often referred to as “stigma.” This will help support people in treatment and recovery, and encourage others to seek help.

Learn to use language that avoids the stigma surrounding addiction from Shatterproof and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Learn why the word “addict” is a problem.

Help Dispel
Myths and Misconceptions

There are many myths and misconceptions that get in the way of effective treatment and recovery. By helping to dispel these misconceptions, you can help family members, friends, coworkers, and members of your community get the encouragement and support they need to seek treatment and sustain recovery.

Here are nine facts about addiction that people usually get wrong.

Here are some common myths about Medication Assisted Treatment.

Expand Recovery
Support Services

Expanding access to treatment and recovery support services is part of North Carolina’s opioid action plan.

To find opportunities to support people in treatment and recovery in your community, contact one of the recovery community organizations listed here or find a community coalition.

You can also reach out to your local health department, your local health director, or other local officials.

Community-based strategies to support people in recovery are often called recovery support services. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery support services include a diverse array of local strategies, such as: 

  • Housing assistance and services
  • Child care
  • Transportation to and from treatment, recovery support activities, employment, etc. 
  • Education, employment services, and job training
  • Family/marriage education
  • Peer-to-peer services, mentoring, and coaching
  • Self-help and support groups
  • Spiritual and faith-based support

Many of these strategies overlap with efforts to address homelessness through “Continuum of Care” programs. Learn more.