The Buzz - A Blog About the Disease of Addiction | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

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Welcome to The Buzz—The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's online conversation about addiction and substance use.

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As Americans continue to struggle with opioid addiction, many blame the pharmaceutical industry for driving the problem through the extensive marketing of pain medicine and promoting prescribing practices that many regard as reckless. A recent Los Angeles Times investigation focused on the pharmaceutical company Purdue and their opioid pain medication OxyContin. They found that Purdue pushed OxyContin on patients and physicians in ways many would find unethical, if not illegal. Additionally, the company helped convince Americans that opioid medications weren’t just for those in agony from cancer or major surgery – but that drugs like OxyContin could be used for much more manageable forms of short-term as well as chronic pain.

Have you ever come home from work and had a few glasses of wine to wind down only to wake up the next morning feeling like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? There is a reason why people use alcohol to relax and help them fall asleep: alcohol does actually speed up this process, but the science shows that the consequences outweigh the benefits. The truth is, although alcohol makes you think you’re getting a better sleep, it’s actually more harmful than helpful for your rest. 

Every two minutes a person is injured due to drinking and driving in America. This frightening statistic reveals that there’s still much work that needs to be done to prevent those who drink from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In fact, an old technology may very well help promote safer driving practices. Politicians are now calling for new laws that require those convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense to equip their vehicles with devices that can detect alcohol on their breath.

For over 30 years, programs like Scared Straight and juvenile boot camps for teens have been used as a way to try and help troubled youth. These programs utilize different methods that revolve around the same basic principle: that instilling a sense of consequence, discipline, fear, and pro-social behaviors in teens struggling with behavioral issues and substance problems will provide them with healthier, more structured lives, and deter them from committing crimes.

As America moves toward a more accurate understanding of addiction as a disease and not as a moral choice, there’s hope that popular culture will reflect this shift. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many popular television shows currently on the air.

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