- 08 Mar
Treating Addiction as a Chronic Disease
With the opioid epidemic reaching into every corner of the U.S., more people are talking about addiction as a chronic disease rather than a moral failing.
For researcher A. Thomas McLellan, who has spent his entire career studying substance abuse, the shift is a welcome one, though it has come frustratingly late.
McLellan is co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia and former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. His work has focused on understanding addiction as a disease and improving the ways it is treated, a mission that took a personal turn midway through his career when he lost a son to overdose.
NPR’s Audie Cornish spoke with McLellan about how addiction is viewed and how that view has shaped the treatment system we have today. He also has suggestions on how to make it better.
About the Author