Myths and Misconceptions about Substance Use
In 2019, approximately 20.4 million Americans aged 12 and older struggled with substance use disorder. Like other diseases, substance use disorder is no one’s fault. It has many contributing factors such as genetics, peer pressure, emotional distress, environmental stress, anxiety, and depression. But also like other diseases, recovery is possible! It’s important to know the facts about substance use disorder so that we can work to eliminate the stigma around it and empower individuals to seek treatment.
Myth #1: It’s easy to pick a person with an addiction out of the crowd.
FACT: Not every person with an addiction fits the stereotypical picture in your head. Many individuals with a substance use disorder have jobs and families and look just like you.
Myth #2: Only “hard” drugs like cocaine and heroin are addictive.
FACT: While drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines are definitely dangerous and come with many risks, drugs that are used more recreationally, like alcohol and marijuana, can be addictive as well. Even drugs prescribed by a doctor, like opioid painkillers, can lead to addiction.
Myth #3: Rehabilitation doesn’t work.
FACT: It is true that many individuals will relapse after receiving treatment. Substance use disorder is a powerful disease, and it often takes more than one try or approach to fight an addiction. But this doesn’t mean that rehab isn’t effective.
Myth #4: People struggling with addiction can stop anytime they want.
FACT: Quitting is not as easy as it sounds. With substance use disorder, there are issues like dependence, where your body physically needs the drug in order to function. Withdrawal, depending on the drug, can be dangerous.
Myth #5: During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to get substance use treatment.
FACT: This is not the time to delay treatment. Various options are available to help you or a loved one. St. Luke’s Penn Foundation is currently offering both in-person and telehealth treatment. Visit our website – www.PennFoundation.org – to learn more about treatment and the safeguards we have in place.