Substance Use Disorder 101

Substance Use Disorder 101

 What is Substance Use Disorder (SUD)? Very plainly put, it is a disease that changes the brain and how it ranks vital resources. Instead of food, water and safety, the brain will rank a substance (drugs, alcohol, ect.) first in its need to live. 

The Addiction Policy Forum created this ten minutes video which explains what substance use disorder is, how it affects a person, what contributes to developing an SUD/OUD and the levels of severity.

Words are important. If you want to care for something, you call it a
flower; if you want to kill something, you call it a weed.

Don Coyhis,
White Bison, Inc. 

Language Matters

The words we use when talking about substance use disorder, addiction, therapy and recover matter. It can be hard to relearn what phrases to use, but it is important to try. Some phrases allow people to feel valued and others better describe the situation someone is experiencing. As a Tillamook County community, it is up to each of us to surround and support our most vulnerable. Below are examples of helpful words instead of hurtful ones. 

substance use/misuse

Instead of substance abuse.

people with sud

Instead of addicts or druggies

positive/negative drug screen

Instead of clean/dirty drug screen

person in recovery

Instead of former addict or former druggie

return to use

Instead of relapse

People who use drugs

instead of junkie, druggie, or user

Substance-exposed newborn

instead of drug baby or addicted baby

What is stigma?

Stigma is an action, attribute or behavior that puts a group of people down. Stigma is usually rooted in misunderstanding, false beliefs or fear. It decreases the desire to seek treatment or help in the stigmatized group – people with substance use disorder. Watch the video below to learn how stigma has personally affected people’s lives.