Addiction is a chronic brain disorder that should be treated like any other chronic disease, according to a new definition from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

In a public policy statement, the group emphasized that neurological mechanisms — disruptions in neurotransmission, interruptions in the reward system, failure of inhibitory control — are the key drivers of addiction.

“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem,” ASAM past president Michael Miller, MD, said in a prepared release. “It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas.”

see Med Page Today: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Addictions/28070

 

This is a subject that really interests me.  Most people who get caught up in the criminal system have substance issues.  Alcohol is clearly number one.  As a criminal defense attorney I spend a lot of time educating judges and prosecutors about the nature of addiction.  I do not see addiction as a defense, but it is often an explanation for the circumstances surrounding criminal conduct.  If we are serious about cutting our crime rate we need to be serious about how we deal with our alcohol and other substance addictions.