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The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”  That’s a mouthful, but long story short: we’re talking about a brain disease. And the way we talk about that brain disease counts.

Tags: Shatterproof, shame stigma language

Read more: Brain science, and how our language can erase shame and stigma

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Author Sam Quinones wrote the book on America’s opioid epidemic with his groundbreaking investigative journalism in “Dreamland.” Now, he’s taking a look at a novel place where those addicted to opioids get G.E.D degrees, receive instruction on criminal-addictive thinking, attend 12-step meetings, receive overdose reversal training, have a chance to exercise, are encouraged to pray and meditate, and receive counseling. Top-notch rehab?  Nope. Learn how Kentucky jails are changing the end game for offenders.

Tags: recovery, Sam Quinones, Dreamland, jail,

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And the first responder is....wait for it....a librarian?? At the McPherson Square Library in Philadelphia, residents stop by with questions about doctor visits and legal matters. Children eat meals provided by library staff and play with water rockets in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics program. And the librarian has taken on the role of first responder in drug overdoses. Learn how “all hands on deck” takes on a new definition when heroin hits hard.

Tags: heroin, Narcan, naloxone

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By Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living

A common expression in the recovery community is “The only thing you need to change in recovery is every thing.” That’s true: getting and staying sober calls for new ways of thinking, new responses to old triggers, new friends who don’t drink or use drugs, families that function in new, healthy ways, and more. That’s a tall order. But there’s one essential element that underpins all of those necessary changes, and that’s integrity.

Tags: recovery, integrity, intentional living, sober living, transitional living

Read more: A sneak peak at how integrity and recovery are joined at the hip

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In states that legalized medical marijuana, U.S. hospitals were expecting crowds of pot smokers, but that didn't happen. Instead, in a surprising twist, they treated far fewer opioid users, a new study shows. That begs the question: Could medical marijuana help curb the opioid epidemic?  Learn what the data suggests about this un-intuitive solution. And be sure to consider - are we swapping in a new addiction for an old one?

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