Treating Addiction as a Disease

Should drug addiction be considered a disease, or will thinking about addiction in this way only further enable drug users by convincing them that they’re powerless?

Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy and President Obama’s top drug policy adviser says, “Addiction should be treated as a public health issue – meaning more accessible rehabilitation and recovery programs.”

We couldn’t agree more. Previous federal drug policies were a circle of bases that left addicts running laps in the system- criminalization, prevention and treatment, repeat. Now, there will be a fourth stop- recovery. The proposed model includes a voucher system to allow not only those recovering to pay for treatment, but also would pay for costs such as transitional housing, child care and work-appropriate clothing.

The MusiCares Foundation and Map Fund, which help music people with emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery resources, agrees with the idea that addiction is a disease. “The shame around addiction is – simply put – a barrier to treatment and recovery,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy and its MusiCares Foundation said, “In fact, we just hosted a panel in conjunction with our annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit focused on removing the stigma of addiction.”