Seeing addiction as a disease

Learn about: Seeing addiction as a disease from Sharon LeGore,...
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Seeing addiction as a disease

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Addiction should be treated just like any other disease, for example, cancer. Scientists have proven that addiction is a disease of the brain. One of the problems that we have is that there is stigma attached to addiction. With that stigma comes a whole other set of circumstances. As I said, with my son when I took him in, they said substance abuse problem. They didn't want to treat it. They just wanted to give me a pamphlet and send me on my way. It is so important that we treat this like a disease because it is a disease of the brain. Our children don't deserve anything less. Would you say to a cancer patient, "Come back in three weeks, maybe we'll have a bed for you." Or would you say, "Your cancer has spread, oh well, you should have stayed cancer free." With addiction, parents hear all the time, "Come back in a month. We don't have a bed." "You were clean, you had a relapse. Oh well, you had your chance." There is no help available. When we talk about the disease of addiction, what we really need is the same respect that our child is ill and needs help. So many families don't have that and they are sent out in the cold with no help, no hope, and nowhere to go. When I talk about the disease of addiction and treating it like anything else in reference to cancer or diabetes, to give that child our help. They are sick and they need help that's available.

Learn about: Seeing addiction as a disease from Sharon LeGore,...

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Sharon LeGore

Family Advocate

Sharon is the founder and president of Momstell, a parent advocacy organization she created after the death of her daughter to a drug overdose.  She created the Momstell website in order to expand the mission to join concerned parents and families to work together towards improving drug treatment, education, legislation, and policy. Mrs. LeGore has worked on many drug and alcohol policy, state budget and legislative issues for Pennsylvania, including legislation to create the first statewide Parent Advisory Council for substance abuse issues in Pennsylvania. She serves on several policy tables and co-chairs the PA Children’s Advisory Committee.

Mrs. LeGore is a consultant on substance abuse family involvement issues for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and is also the co-director of the SAMHSA sponsored “National Family Dialogue”. Sharon co-authored the CSAT/SAMHSA report “Families of Youth with Substance Use Disorders: A National Dialogue”, an issue brief entitled “Family Involvement in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment” a journal piece for Reclaiming Futures entitled “Family Involvement in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery: What do we know and what lies ahead”, co-authored the “Access to Substance Abuse Treatment: Results of a Family Survey” as well as several additional published articles. She is a national speaker and also serves on the Parent Advisory Board for the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Sharon is the mother of four and resides in Mt Wolf, Pennsylvania with her husband Terry.

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