by Jessica Hulsey
Addiction is a medical condition that affects the brain and changes a person's behavior. The medical term for a drug or alcohol addiction is a substance use disorder (SUD).
People can develop an addiction to:
Opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers;
Cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants;
PCP, LSD and other hallucinogens; and
Sedatives, such as sleeping pills and/or benzodiazepines.
Addiction is characterized by a loss of control and continued use despite consequences, such as loss of a job, arrest, or other significant negative outcomes. It can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, or socioeconomic status.
Addiction is a medical condition that affects the brain and changes behavior
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020) Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Retrieved from www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preface
Jessica Hulsey is the founder and Executive Director of Addiction Policy Forum.