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For Educators

What do addiction, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer have in common? They are all diseases. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 40 million Americans age 12 and older have the disease of addiction–more than the number of people who have heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that someone will develop addiction.

Yet, despite how common the disease is, addiction is still highly misunderstood and stigmatized. Those suffering from addiction are often told that they lack willpower or should be able to stop their compulsive use of certain substances at any time. This is simply untrue. Addiction is a chronic and complex disease that alters regions of the brain that control motivation, learning, judgment, and memory. It tears apart families, relationships, and communities.

Drug and alcohol addiction in Maryland is a serious problem with devastating impacts on families and communities–and related fatalities on the rise. The Hogan Administration’s statewide focus on addressing heroin and opioid abuse includes a coordinated, statewide public education initiative to help students and parents identify and respond to signs of addiction and to access support services.

The Maryland State Department of Education is proud to collaborate with other state agencies on this effort, which includes original student-lead outreach campaigns that will be unveiled over the next several months.

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