An Overview of Addiction and Addiction Treatment with a Special Focus on the Opioid Epidemic
Scoggins, William Russell
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For at least 20 years the United States has been in the midst of a severe opioid problem. The problem escalated rather gradually at first, but in the last 10 years it has grown significantly. With the current state of the opioid epidemic, it can be assumed that most pastors will have to deal with opioid abuse at some point in their ministry. This paper will educate the reader about the opioid epidemic. It will (1) give a brief history of some commonly abused substances, (2) look at history and the present state of today’s opioid epidemic, (3) briefly consider both the scientific and spiritual components of addiction, (4) lay out and evaluate the treatment options available for those struggling with addiction, and (5) conclude with come general considerations. Addiction—whether addiction to alcohol, cocaine, or heroin—has some basic similarities. Therefore, this paper will at times speak about addiction in a general nature and at time speak specifically about opioid addiction. It should be noted that the evaluation of treatment options may be a useful introduction to treating addiction in general—not only opioid addiction. This paper also will seek to (A) bring to light a number of behaviors and actions from well-intentioned loved ones that may do more harm than good for an addict, and (B) name a number of societal and religious mindsets/stereotypes that are harmful and counterproductive in helping the addict recover.