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April 11, 2007
The End of Abuse - Recognizing Addiction as a Disease Act of 2007
A bill is winding its way through Congress which seeks to remove the term "abuse" from the name of two NIH institutes. The goal is to attribute addiction as a disease and not as abuse. The two institutes would be renamed as follows:
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) would be renamed National Institute on Disease of Addiction (NIDA)
2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism would be renamed National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health (NIADH)
Senator Joe Biden's bill (S1011) has a Findings section which is very helpful in reframing the perspective about addictions:
S1011: SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Addiction is 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's structure and manner in which it functions. These brain changes can be long lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs. The disease of addiction affects both brain and behavior, and scientists have identified many of the biological and environmental factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disease.
(2) The pejorative term `abuse' used in connection with diseases of addiction has the adverse effect of increasing social stigma and personal shame, both of which are so often barriers to an individual's decision to seek treatment.
Senator Joe Biden's bill (S1011) was introduced on 3/28 with Kennedy and Enzi. It is a companion bill to Patrick Kennedy's (HR1348), which was introduced on March 3 with Rep. Sullivan (R-OK) as the co-sponsor. The name of S1011 is "Recognizing Addiction as a Disease Act of 2007" and HR1348 is `NIDA and NIAAA Name Redesignation Act'.
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