Giving Compass' Take:

• The Battery Club discusses addiction and recovery and its approach to addressing this national crisis. 

• How can funders best support addiction recovery efforts? How is your community addressing this issue?

• Learn more about harm reduction

Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. People can be addicted to all kinds of things, including activities like gambling or video gaming; legal substances like alcohol or tobacco; or illegal substances like heroin, methamphetamine, or misused prescription drugs. For this theme, we are focusing on addiction to substances, with an emphasis on illegal substances and misused prescription drugs.

Recovery is the process of improved physical, psychological, and social well-being and health after having suffered from a substance use disorder. Recovery is more than just successful control of a substance use disorder. Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. This includes addressing: self-care practices, family, housing, and employment.

More than 7 million Americans struggle with an illicit drug-related substance use disorder. Throw alcohol into the mix and the number rises to 18.7 million adults. Over 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2017 – more than two-thirds of them due to opioids.

Battery Powered supports a public health approach to addressing substance use disorders. Simply stated, our public health system has better tools to deal with the disease of addiction than our criminal justice system, a view we heard from public health officials and law enforcement officers alike. Furthermore, the criminal justice system has created deeply unequal outcomes for people of color when it comes to drugs. While drug use and sales are similar across racial and ethnic lines, people of color are far more likely to be criminalized than white people.

Our approach is grounded in harm reduction philosophy and backed by evidence. Rather than a punitive approach, harm reduction acknowledges the dignity and humanity of people who use drugs. It provides care to minimize negative consequences and promote optimal health and social inclusion. A wealth of studies have demonstrated that this strategy works well to address addiction.

Read the full article about addiction and recovery at The Battery Club.