Addiction is a psychological and behavioral impulse characterized by cravings, compulsions and an inability to stop using despite negative consequences.

Substance addictions include alcohol, opioids (painkillers or heroin), prescription drugs (such as anti-anxiety medications or sleeping pills), marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other substances.

Each addiction has a different set of symptoms and effects on the body and each addiction has different options for treatment.
Signs of addiction include:

  • Taking a substance more often and in higher quantities that intended;
  • A desire to reduce use without success;
  • Significant time used to acquire, use and recover from a substance;
  • Reduced performance at work, home or school;
  • Poor relationships with family, friends and within social circles due to continued use;
  • Engaging in risky behaviors that put oneself or others in danger;
  • Inclination to criminal activity;
  • Developing tolerance, requiring greater usage to achieve the same effect;
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after reducing use (physical symptoms vary based on substance used.

A qualified addiction specialist can identify the signs of addiction and tailor treatment to meet your specific needs.

It is important to understand that addiction is not a voluntary response on behalf of the individual. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that has changed the structure and functioning of the brain, affecting a person's judgment, decision-making, reaction to stress, memory, ability to learn and behavioral control.

Individuals who need help should have the support, patience and understanding to seek and maintain treatment. Similar to interacting with individuals who have other diseases, compassion, encouragement and positivity.



The goal of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is to reduce illegal painkiller and heroin use along with the resulting consequences on the user, their families and the community. Medication-Assisted Treatment with the use of Methadone is one of the longest studied forms of treatment that has been proven to be an effective treatment for opioid dependence. Patients in MAT greatly benefit by gaining back physical stability to improve their health, employability, home stability and relationships with family and community. The community benefits from reduced crime, death, disease and drug use.
Positive outcomes of providing MAT services within a community:

  • Contributes to public safety and safer neighborhoods;
  • Reduced criminal behavior;
  • Improved social functioning, domestic relations and child rearing;
  • Improved health and wellness in the community;
  • Reduced rates of infection of communicable diseases; including HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens;
  • Reduced pressures on public services, enabling emergency, trauma and urgent care centers to be run more efficiently and effectively;
  • Patients’ improved health, pregnancy outcomes and psychological well-being;
  • Lowered mortality rates of opioid dependent citizens;
  • Improved productivity;
  • Patients are able to acquire and maintain employment;
  • Clinics serve patients who live in the community and are everyday citizens like lawyers, engineers, secretaries, truck drivers, roofers, gardeners, teachers, salespersons, architects, computer programmers, etc., helping them perform better at work and for their patrons;
  • Greater socioeconomic contributions to the community from opioid dependent citizens.

Learn more about preventing addiction.