What are Addiction and Recovery and are They Covered by the ADA?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is a “treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.” People with addiction may use substances, such as drugs or alcohol, or engage in behaviors that may become compulsive and which may continue despite harmful consequences. Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of these substances causes significant impairment, including health problems and disability. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as a “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Recovery-oriented care and recovery support systems help people with substance use disorders manage their conditions successfully. The recovery process is highly personal and may occur through many pathways and it may include setbacks. Because setbacks may occur, resilience becomes a key part of the recovery process.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. This includes people with addiction and those in recovery from substance use disorders. The NIDILRR-funded ADA National Network published a factsheet, The ADA, Addiction and Recovery, which discusses how people with addiction and in recovery are covered by the ADA. The Network also published factsheets for local and state governments and for small businesses and nonprofits on addiction, recovery, and their responsibilities under the ADA.

For more information on how the ADA covers addiction and recovery, contact The ADA National Network Regional Center serving your community. If you or someone you know are seeking treatment, please visit SAMHSA’s “Find Treatment” page to find the best treatment center for you. Contact NARIC’s information specialists to obtain more information and resources on addiction, recovery, and the ADA.

Please note: Call 911 immediately, if you find someone who has overdosed.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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