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Watch ADDICTION on HBO Thursday March 15, 2007 9PM ET/PT

Substance abuse and addiction are projected to exceed a half trillion dollars annually in the United States due to health care expenditures, lost productivity, and crime. Given this grim picture, the National Institutes of Health, (NIH) has partnered with HBO to present a documentary, ADDICTION, to help Americans understand this problem as a chronic, treatable brain disease. The 9-part series will spotlight scientific advancements in understanding the brain and treating substance abuse. The emotional, psychological, and social costs of addiction are a public health crisis. 23.2 million Americans over the age of 12 (one in ten Americans) are afflicted. Experts estimate 10 percent receive adequate treatment.

One segment, "The Adolescent Addict," explains how the adolescent brain differs from the adult brain because it is not yet fully developed. According to National Institute of Drug Addiction (NIDA)'s Dr. Nora Volkow, adolescent brains may be more susceptible to drug abuse and addiction than adult brains. Because it is still developing, the adolescent brain may also be more resilient and may respond better to treatment. Stigmas that prevent families from looking for help outside the home will be addressed.

Three FDA-approved medications available to treat alcohol dependence, Disulfiram, Naltrexone, and acamprosate will be highlighted. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)’s Dr. Mark Willenbring will discuss these adjuncts to treatment in the film.

NIDA and NIAAA have released publications to coincide with the launch of ADDICTION. Downloadable patient education handouts include Strategies for Cutting Down, U.S. Adult Drinking Patterns, and What's a Standard Drink?

  • Drugs Brains and Behavior, the Science of Addiction
  • Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician's Guide

  • The documentary is part of an HBO Addiction Project that includes a supplementary series of 13 additional short films including extended expert interviews and focusing on such subjects as family treatment and drug courts. All films will be offered March 15-18 at no charge by participating cable systems and available on numerous digital platforms including multiplex channels, podcasts, and web streams available from HBO's website. The Project is being promoted by HBO and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
    I guess they aren’t covering Nicotine Addiction. Follow the Freedom from Smoking blog for more on that addiction. For more information on Jane’s Addiction, go to Jane’s Addiction.

    For more of JC’s blogs, check out:
    For other addictions check out:

    Thank you Photocatcher, for use of your great photo, Addicted to Pain.

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