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Addiction Recovery Resources in Boston and Massachusetts: Home

For information pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, please view and read the Boston Public Library's blog post, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources.

  A person's recovery from addiction is true resiliency, and everyone deserves the proper treatment for their disease...  
--Erin Theriault, PAATHS Clinical Coordinator

In response to the current opioid crisis, the National Library of Medicine has partnered with Health Roads Media to create a collection of 22 easy-to-read patient materials titled, Opioid Misuse and Addiction Resources. The handouts, videos, and audio clips are available in English and Spanish and are located on the HealthReach website.

Commonly Abused Drugs Charts

These charts list the street names, commercial names, common forms, common ways taken, and possible health effects of several different drugs, including opioids, club drugs, hallucinogens, and more. It also provides treatment options, if any are known, in the form of FDA-approved medications and behavioral therapies.

Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz

Unbroken Brain
by Maia Szalavitz

Publication Date: 2016-04-05

Hopeful Healing by Mackenzie Phillips

Publication Date: 2017-02-07

The Joey Song by Sandra Swenson

The Joey Song
by Sandra Swenson

Publication Date: 2014-09-09

Life on the Rocks by Peg O'Connor

Life on the Rocks
by Peg O'Connor

Publication Date: 2016-01-26

Natural Rest for Addiction by Scott Kiloby

Natural Rest for Addiction
by Scott
Publication Date: 2017-05-01

Not as Prescribed by Harry L. Haroutunian

Not as Prescribed
by Harry L. Haroutunian

Publication Date: 2016-03-14

Sober Stick Figure by Amber Tozer

Sober Stick Figure
by Amber Tozer

​Publication Date: 2016-05-31

Sobriety by Daniel D. Maurer

by Daniel D. Maurer

Publication Date: 2014-10-28

Step Up
by Michael Graubart

Publication Date: 2017-10-03

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

How to Murder Your Life
by Cat Marnell

Publication Date: 2017-01-31

by Sam Quinones 

Publication Date: 2015-04-21

by Julie Buntin

Publication Date: 2017-04-04

by David Sheff

Publication Date: 2013-04-02

American Pain
by John Temple

Publication Date: 2015-09-29

Pill Head
by Joshua Lyon

Publication Date: 2009-07-07

Drug Dealer, MD
by Anna Lembke

Publication Date: 2016-09-28

Substance Use Memoirs

Addiction and recovery memoirs offer a view into a world that is unknown to some but familiar to others because of their personal experiences. Check out these general recommendations featuring compelling stories by people in long-term recovery.




Beacon Hill & Massachusetts State House aerial view, Boston

Photo courtesy of Spencer Grant,
"Beacon Hill & Massachusetts State
House aerial view, Boston," 
via Digital Commonwealth

This LibGuide contains information on substance use and recovery services. It is designed for both active users and their loved ones. This guide is not meant to provide expert, clinical, or medical advice. Its intention is to provide the public with an informational resource guide that connects individuals to recovery centers, detoxification & intervention programs, overdose prevention measures, needle exchange services, scientific facts about drugs and alcohol, parental support guides and tips, helpful books and handouts, and more. 

As always, feel free to ask your local librarian for help navigating these sources.



When talking about addiction and substance use disorders, language has the power to engage and support, or to alienate and stigmatize; it is important to achieve some degree of shared understanding in the use of some common terms. Bear in mind that even as we attempt to establish and use a shared vocabulary, the words people use to discuss these topics will mean different things to different people.

This glossary offers a partial list of terms and phrases relating to substance abuse disorders. Use the tabs at the top of the glossary to explore these terms alphabetically. For even more terms and definitions, you can visit the Recovery Research Institute's Addiction-ary.

ACUTE CARE: Immediate, short term medically managed or monitored care, lasting sometimes up to 28 days in length. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ADDICTION: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Addiction is characterized by behaviors that include:

  • Impaired control over drug use
  • Compulsive use
  • Continued use despite harm
  • Cravings

(Source: Addiction-ary)

ADDICTION COUNSELOR: Type of non-medically credentialed addiction treatment provider. Counselors vary across jurisdictions in their titles, their required level of education, and required level of training. Addiction counselors encompass “substance abuse counselors” (SACs), “certified alcohol & substance abuse counselors” (CASACs), & “certified alcohol & drug counselors” (CADCs). View infographic: Meet Your Recovery Team here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ADDICTION PSYCHIATRIST: A physician who is board-certified as a psychiatrist with specialized training in addiction diagnosis, treatment & management. Addiction psychiatrists can provide therapy, although most emphasize and prescribe medications & work in collaboration with social workers, psychologists, or counselors who provide psychotherapies. View infographic: Meet Your Recovery Team here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ADDICTION MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: A board-certified physician in some specialty (e.g., family medicine, pediatrics, neurology) who has undergone specialized training in addiction diagnosis, treatment & management, but who does not typically provide addiction-specific psychotherapy, although often provides brief counseling. View infographic: Meet Your Recovery Team here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

AL-ANON: Al-Anon is a mutual help organization or peer support group for people who have been affected by a loved one’s alcohol use disorder. Groups are based on 12-step principles and have attendees share stories and build supportive networks to help cope with the difficulties of having a loved one with an alcohol use disorder. Learn more about resources for loved ones here or here. Learn more about peer-based recovery support here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA): International fellowship for individuals with problematic drinking. Founded in 1939, AA is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical organization that is open to all ages, and as the largest mutual help organization, offers meetings almost everywhere. AA is a 12-step program that revolves around its main text, known as the Big Book. (see mutual help organizations, peer support group). Learn more about: peer-based recovery support here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ALTERNATIVE PEER GROUPS (APGs): Recovery support services for adolescents with substance use disorder that engage them in a community of other recovering adolescents, to capitalize on the same desire for peer acceptance that is known to drive, in part, adolescent motivations for substance use. Alternative Peer Groups are grounded in the theory that, if centered on fun activities with peers, recovery will be perceived as more rewarding than substance use. (Source: Addiction-ary)

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: The field of health care concerned with substance use and other mental health disorders (Source: Addiction-ary)

BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE: An interdisciplinary field that integrates knowledge across disciplines to study the behavioral and social aspects of medical conditions and illness. (Source: Addiction-ary)

CASE MANAGEMENT: The collaborative process of assessment, planning, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to facilitate disease management (e.g. connecting individuals to mutual help organizations, peer & family support services and counseling, employment, housing, basic healthcare, childcare, etc.). (Source: Addiction-ary)

COPING STRATEGIES: The specific efforts, both behavioral & psychological, utilized to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize the effects of stressful events. Two general coping strategies have been distinguished as: 1) problem solving strategies (active efforts to alleviate stressful circumstances) and 2) emotion focused strategies to regulate the emotional consequences of stressful or potentially stressful events. (Source: Addiction-ary)

CRAVING: A powerful & strong psychological desire to consume a substance or engage in an activity; a symptom of the abnormal brain adaptions (neuroadaptations) that result from addiction. The brain becomes accustomed to the presence of a substance which when absent produces a manifest psychological desire to obtain and consume it. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DENIAL: In a psychological sense, denial describes individuals who deny substance use problems. It is the tendency of alcoholics or addicts to either disavow or distort variables associated with their drinking or drug use in spite of evidence to the contrary. It’s a common misconception that all alcoholics and individuals with substance use disorder are “in denial.” In fact, individuals have various levels of awareness of their substance use problems and readiness to change behavior. Individuals may accurately recognize certain facts concerning their use, such as number of arrests or how often they drink, while at the same time, misperceive the impact that their use has on the individuals around them, their relationships, how they feel about themselves, or the implications of their drinking history. For information about insurance denials, click here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DEPENDENCE: The state in which individual functioning is sustained through the sustained presence of a drug; manifested as a physical disturbance or withdrawal upon removal of the substance. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DEPRESSANT: Psychoactive substance that decreases levels of physiological or nervous system activity in the body decreasing alertness, attention, and energy through decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rates. Informally referred to as “downers” (e.g., alcohol; benzodiazepines). (Source: Addiction-ary)

DETOX: Short for “detoxification,” it is the medical process focused on treating the physical effects of withdrawal from substance use and comfortably achieving metabolic stabilization; a prelude to longer-term treatment and recovery. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DISEASE: A disease is a particular abnormal condition, a disorder of a structure or function, that affects part or all of an organism and is characterized by specific signs and symptoms. (Source: Addiction-ary)


DRUG: (stigma alert) Drug can mean either a “medication” or a “non-medically used psychoactive substance.” The term drug has a stigma alert due to the ambiguity of the term. This ambiguity may create a barrier to accessing prescription (psychoactive) medications in cases where their use IS medically appropriate. Many advocate instead to use “medication” or “non-medically used psychoactive substances” to decrease stigma and speak with greater specificity. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DRUG ABUSE: (stigma alert) A term sometimes used to describe an array of problems resulting from intensive use of psychoactive substances. It has also been used as a diagnostic label. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), “substance abuse” is defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by one (or more) of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

  1. Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (such as repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use; substance-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; or neglect of children or household).
  2. Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (such as driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use)
  3. Recurrent substance-related legal problems (such as arrests for substance related disorderly conduct)
  4. Continued substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (for example, arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication and physical fights).

(Source: Addiction-ary)

DRUG CLASSES: Substances can belong to one or more drug categories or classes. A drug class is a group of substances that while not identical, share certain similarities such as chemical structure, elicited effects, or intended usage. Three common classes of commonly medications and non-medically used psychoactive substance include:

  1. opioids (e.g. oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, morphine, heroin)
  2. depressants (diazepam, clonazepam, alochol)
  3. stimulants (dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, cocaine)

(Source: Addiction-ary)

DRUG CLASSIFICATIONS: In the United States, drugs are classified into 5 groups known as ‘schedules.’ These 5 schedules determine the medical and legal status of a substance. Learn more about drug classifications here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

DRUG COURTS: Drug courts are problem-solving courts that operate under a specialized model in which the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social service, and treatment communities work together to help non-violent offenders find restoration in recovery and become productive citizens. With an emphasis on rehabilitation and treatment, drug courts serve only a fraction of the estimated 1.2 million individuals suffering from Substance Use Disorder in the United States criminal justice system. (Source: Addiction-ary)

ENABLING: (stigma alert) Actions that typically involve removing or diminishing the naturally occurring negative consequences resulting from substance use, increasing the likelihood of disease progression. Term has a stigma alert, due to the inference of judgement and blame. Learn more about resources for loved ones here or here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

FENTANYL: A potent opioid used to treat chronic pain.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is 80 times more potent than morphine and hundreds of times more powerful than heroin. (Source: Addiction-ary)

HALLUCINOGEN: A substance that induces hallucinations (i.e. visions, sounds, smells, tastes, or sensations that do not actually exist; e.g., LSD). (Source: Addiction-ary)

HARM REDUCTION: Policies, programs & practices that aim to reduce the harms associated with the use of psychoactive drugs. The defining features include a focus on the prevention of harm, rather than on the prevention of drug use itself, with attention and focus on the individual’s active substance use (e.g., a clean needle exchange program can reduce rates of transmission of hepatitis C, HIV, or other infectious disease for individuals suffering from heroin use disorder). (Source: Addiction-ary)

INHALANT: Substances that produce chemical vapors that are inhaled to induce a psychoactive or mind-altering effect. There are four general categories of inhalants — volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites. (Source: Addiction-ary)

IN-PATIENT TREATMENT: Admission to a hospital or facility for treatment that requires at least one overnight stay. (see residential treatment) (Source: Addiction-ary)

INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT TREATMENT: A time limited, intensive, non-residential clinical treatment that often involves participation in several hours of clinical services several days per week. It is a step below partial hospitalization in intensity. (Source: Addiction-ary)


  1. A procedure of varying duration typically conducted by a clinician and implemented to stimulate, facilitate, and induce changes in signs, symptoms, or behavior.
  2. A meeting of an individual with an identifiable substance-related problem with family or other significant others held to directly address the problems being caused by the individuals’ substance use and typically involves expression of care, concern, and explicit demands for behavioral change or the receipt of addiction treatment. Typically conducted when other attempts to influence change have failed. Also known as the Johnson Intervention.

Learn more about resources for loved ones here or here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

LONG TERM RECOVERY: 5 years of continued remission; the point at which the risk of meeting criteria for a substance use disorder in the following year is no greater than that of the general population. (Source: Addiction-ary)

MANDATED TREATMENT: Treatment required or mandated through a drug court or as a condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole. (Source: Addiction-ary)

MEDICATION ASSISTED DETOX: Detoxification in a medical setting, often with use of medications to support initial withdrawal and stabilization following cessation of alcohol or other drugs. (Source: Addiction-ary)

METHADONE: A synthetic opioid narcotic drug used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and as an opioid replacement therapy maintenance medication for individuals with opioid use disorders. (Source: Addiction-ary)

MINDFULNESS-BASED RELAPSE PREVENTION: Training of techniques in mindfulness, or the ability to be present, to target depression, stress, negative emotions, and cravings in the prevention of relapse for individuals with addiction. Learn more about relapse prevention strategies here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

MUTUAL HELP ORGANIZATIONS: Also known as peer support groups, mutual help organizations are peer run volunteer organizations that focus on the socially supportive communication and exchange of addiction and recovery experience and skills. Individuals participate in activities that engage, educate, and support patients recovering from Substance Use Disorder from others facing similar challenges. Mutual help organizations include: AA, NA, Smart Recovery, All Recovery groups and online forums. Learn more about peer-based recovery support here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NALOXONE: An opioid antagonist, similar to Naltrexone, that works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, thereby blocking the effects of opioid agonists (e.g., heroin, morphine). Naloxone has poor bio-availability when taken sublingually. Naloxone has a high affinity to the mu opioid receptor, yet not as high of an affinity as buprenorphine, at the mu receptor. Brand name: Narcan. See Infographic: How To Identify a Drug Overdose. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NALTREXONE: A narcotic antagonist, works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain, without activating them, therefore, blocking the effects of opioids (e.g., heroin, morphine). Naltrexone has a high affinity to the Mu receptor, yet not as high as buprenorphine. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NARCOTIC: Originally, narcotic referred to psychoactive compounds with sleep inducing properties (typically opioids such as heroin). In moderate doses, narcotics will dull the senses, relieve pain, and induce sleep. In large doses, narcotics will cause stupor, coma, convulsions, and death. Today however, narcotic is often used in a legal context, where narcotic is used generally to refer to illegal or illicit substances. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS: Born out of the ideology and structure of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous is an international fellowship for individuals with problematic drug use. NA is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical organization that is open to all ages, offering meetings in over 100 countries. NA is a 12-step program that revolves around its main text, known as the Basic Text. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NATURAL RECOVERY: A common recovery pathway in which remission from substance use disorder is achieved without the support or services of professional or non-professional intervention. Also known as self-managed recovery. Learn more about self-managed recovery here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

NICOTINE: A toxic colorless or yellowish oily liquid that is the chief active constituent of tobacco. It acts as a stimulant in small doses, but in larger amounts blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells acting as a depressant. (Source: Addiction-ary)

OPEN MEETINGS: 12 Step meetings that can be attended by anyone (those who identify with a substance use disorder, as well as those who do not). Intended to educate the public and concerned significant others about the nature and scope of 12-step meetings. Learn more about peer-based recovery support here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

OPIATE: A drug derived directly from the natural opium poppy plant. (Source: Addiction-ary)

OPIOID: A family of drugs used therapeutically to treat pain, that also produce a sensation of euphoria (a narcotic “high”) and are naturally derived from the opium poppy plant (e.g., morphine and opium) or synthetically or semi-synthetically produced in a lab to act like an opiate (e.g., methadone and oxycodone). Chronic repeated use of opioids can lead to tolerance, physical dependence and addiction. (Source: Addiction-ary)

OUTPATIENT TREATMENT: A professionally delivered substance use disorder treatment modality that requires daily to weekly attendance at a clinic or facility, allowing the patient to return home or to other living arrangements during non-treatment hours. (Source: Addiction-ary)

OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS (OTC): Medications directly obtainable in a pharmacy by a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare provider. (see prescription medications) (Source: Addiction-ary)

PARTIAL HOSPITALIZATION: A time-limited, intensive, clinical service that is often medically monitored but is a step in intensity below inpatient hospitalization. A patient may participate in clinical services all day long for days to weeks but resides at home. Definitions of levels of care may vary by state. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PATIENT ACTIVATION: How well patients are equipped to take an active role in their addiction related care, and to use the primary care services available to them, are unclear. More specifically defined as “understanding one’s role in the care process and having the knowledge, skill, and confidence to manage one’s health and health care.” (Source: Addiction-ary)

PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Healthcare legislation enacted on March 23, 2010, making substance use disorders one of the ten elements of essential health benefits in the United States. It requires that Medicaid and all insurance plans sold on the Health Insurance Exchange provide services for substance use disorder treatment at the same level as other medical procedures. Commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” after US president, Barrack Obama, under whose government the law was formulated and enacted. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PEER SUPPORT GROUP: Also known as mutual help organizations, peer support groups are structured non-clinical relationships, in which individuals participate in activities that engage, educate, and support patients recovering from Substance Use Disorder from others facing similar challenges. Peer to Peer groupings include: AA, NA, Smart Recovery, All Recovery groups and online forums. As part of a larger treatment plan, peer providers offer valuable guidance and connection to individuals in recovery through the process of sharing their own experiences in recovery from substance use disorder. Learn more about: peer-based recovery support here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE: A linguistic prescription structuring sentences to name the person first and the condition second. It is recommended to use “person first” language; instead of describing someone as an “addict” to describe them as a person with, or suffering from, addiction or a substance use disorder. Person-first language articulates that the disease is a secondary attribute and not the primary characteristic of the individual’s identity. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PHARMACOTHERAPY: Medical treatment by means of drugs. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PHYSICIAN HEALTH PROGRAM: A state agency that monitors physicians, residents and medical students who have substance use disorders, and psychiatric disorders, with the purpose to allow doctors to practice medicine while going through rehabilitation, while also protecting patients and maintaining a safe standard of care. (Source: Addiction-ary)

PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Medications available to consumers only with a specific written authorization from a healthcare provider. (see over-the-counter medications) (Source: Addiction-ary)

PSYCHOSOCIAL THERAPY: Non-pharmacological treatments such as psychotherapy. Psychosocial refers to an individual’s psychological development in and interaction with their social environment. Psychosocial treatments or interventions include can include structured counseling, motivational enhancement, case management, care-coordination, psychotherapy and relapse prevention. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RAPID DETOX: Anesthesia assisted detoxification; injection of high doses of an opiate antagonist, followed by an infusion of Naloxone. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RECOVERY: The process of improved physical, psychological, and social well-being and health after having suffered from a substance-related condition. Read more about recovery here. Read more about the different definitions of recovery over time here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RECOVERY COACH: Typically a non-clinical peer support specialist or “peer mentor” operating within a community organization (e.g., a Recovery Community Center) or a clinical organization (e.g., treatment program or hospital) and can therefore be a paid or volunteer position. Recovery coaches are most often in recovery themselves and therefore offer the lived experience of active addiction and successful recovery. They focus on helping individuals to set & achieve goals important to recovery. They do not offer primary treatment for addiction, do not diagnose, & generally, are not associated with any particular method or means of recovery. View infographic: Meet Your Recovery Team. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RECOVERY COMMUNITY CENTER: A center or hub that organizes recovery networks regionally and nationally to facilitate supportive relationships between individuals in recovery as well as family and friends of people in recovery. Centers may provide advocacy training, peer support organization meetings, social activities, and other community based services. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RECOVERY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS (RCO’s): An independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RECOVERY RESIDENCE: An alcohol- and drug-free living facility for individuals recovering from alcohol or other drug use disorders that often serves as an interim living environment between detoxification experiences or residential treatment and mainstream society. Also known as Sober Houses, Sober Living Houses (SLHs), Sober Living Homes, or Sober Living Environments. Learn more about recovery residences here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RELAPSE: (stigma alert) Relapse often indicates a recurrence of substance use. More technically, it would indicate the recurrence and reinstatement of a substance use disorder and would require an individual to be in remission prior to the occurrence of a relapse.

The highest risk for recurrence of substance use disorder symptoms occurs during the first 90 days following the initial intervention. The risk for recurrence of symptoms decreases after 90 days. This indicates that individuals attempting to recover from substance use disorder need the most intensive support during this first 3-month period, as individuals are experiencing substantial physiological, psychological, and social changes during this early recovery phase. There is typically a greater sensitivity to stress that makes continued recovery challenging.

This term has a stigma alert, as it implies moral failure. Instead use morally neutral terms such as “resumed,” or experienced a “recurrence” of symptoms. (Source: Addiction-ary

REMISSION: An individual is in remission if they once met DSM-IV criteria for a substance use disorder, but no longer meet the criteria and or have not met this criteria within one year. (Source: Addiction-ary)

RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT: A model of care for substance use disorder that houses affected individuals with others suffering from the same conditions to provide longer-term rehabilitative therapy in a therapeutic socially supportive milieu. Also known as in-patient treatment. (Source: Addiction-ary)

SCREENING, BRIEF INTERVENTION, AND REFERRAL TO TREATMENT (SBIRT): An evidence-based method used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic substance use and substance use disorder.

  • SCREENING: An assessment – usually brief such as a paper and pencil self-report measures or a biological assay (e.g., urine/blood) – to help detect risky or harmful substance use. This is often conducted by healthcare professionals using standardized screening tools in a specific clinic or other setting.
  • BRIEF INTERVENTION: A short conversation or counseling session in which healthcare providers typically offer feedback and advice in order to motivate individuals identified as at-risk for substance-related harm to become more aware of the risk and to reduce or eliminate substance use or to seek treatment.
  • REFERRAL TO TREATMENT: The 3rd and final stage in the SBIRT model, when a healthcare provider formally refers a patient identified as having or is at-risk for substance use disorder to additional services such as brief therapy or longer-term treatment.

(Source: Addiction-ary)

SOBER: A state in which one is not intoxicated or affected by the use of alcohol or drugs. (Source: Addiction-ary)

SOBRIETY: The quality or state of being sober. (Source: Addiction-ary)

SOCIAL DETOX: Detoxification in an organized residential setting to deliver non-medical support to achieve initial recovery from the effects of alcohol or another drug. Staff provide safe, twenty-four-hour monitoring, observation, and support in a supervised environment for patients. Social detoxification is characterized by an emphasis on peer and social support for patients whose intoxication or withdrawal signs and symptoms require twenty-four-hour structure and support but do not require medically managed inpatient detoxification. (see detox) (Source: Addiction-ary)

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: Businesses that help solve social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or environment. Profits stem from selling goods and services in the open market, but profits are then reinvested back into the business or the local community. This model has started to be used in addiction recovery settings. Learn more about employment-based recovery services here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

SPONSOR: A volunteer who is currently practicing the 12-step program of recovery espoused by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other 12-step mutual-help organizations (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous,  Marijuana Anonymous) and who helps newer AA members by providing support, encouragement, & guidance to promote sustained long-term recovery. View infographic: Meet Your Recovery Team here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

STIGMA: An attribute, behavior, or condition that is socially discrediting. Known to decrease treatment seeking behaviors in individuals with substance use disorders. (Source: Addiction-ary)

STIMULANT: A psychoactive substance that increases or arouses physiologic or nervous system activity in the body.  A stimulant will typically increase alertness, attention, and energy through a corresponding increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rates. Informally referred to as “uppers” (e.g., cocaine, amphetamine/methamphetamine). (Source: Addiction-ary)

SUBOXONE: Approved by the FDA in 2002 as a medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence, Suboxone contains the active ingredients of buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone. The mixture of agonist and antagonist is intended to reduce craving while preventing misuse of the medication. (Source: Addiction-ary)

SUBSTANCE DEPENDENCE: A term used synonymously with “addiction” but sometimes also used to distinguish physiological dependence from the syndrome of addiction/substance use disorder. It was used in prior iterations of the DSM to signify the latter. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), substance dependence is defined as a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following, occurring any time in the same 12-month period:

  1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: (a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect or (b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  2. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: (a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance or (b) The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  4. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
  5. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
  6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
  7. The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (for example, current cocaine use despite recognition of cocaine-induced depression or continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).

(Source: Addiction-ary)

SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER: Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. Common substance use disorders include those related to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis (marijuana), stimulants, hallucinogens, and opioids. (Source: SAMHSA)

SUSTAINED REMISSION: Someone who once met diagnostic criteria for an alcohol or other drug use disorder, and then no longer meets the threshold for the disorder for at least 1 year. (Source: Addiction-ary)

TAPER: As in tapering a medication or other drug: A practice in pharmacotherapy of lowering the dose of medication incrementally over time to help prevent or reduce any adverse experiences as the patients’ body makes adjustments and adapts to lower and lower doses. (Source: Addiction-ary)

TOLERANCE: Normal neurobiological adaptation characterized by the need to increase dosage overtime to obtain the original effect. A state in which a substance produces a diminishing biological or behavioral response (e.g. a higher dosage is needed to produce the same euphoric effect experienced initially). (Source: Addiction-ary)

TREATMENT: The management and care of a patient to combat a disease or disorder. Learn more about treatment options here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

TRIGGER: A specific stimulus that sets off a memory or flashback, transporting the individual back to a feeling, experience, or event which may increase susceptibility to psychological or physical relapse. (Source: Addiction-ary)

TWELVE STEP FACILITATION (TSF): An evidence-based clinical  approach to substance use disorder treatment that is grounded in the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) with the two primary goals of motivating the patient to develop a desire to cease using substances and to also acknowledge the need for active participation in 12-step mutual help organizations such as AA and NA as a means of maintaining recovery. Learn more about 12-step facilitation here. (Source: Addiction-ary)

WITHDRAWAL: Physical, cognitive, and affective symptoms that occur after chronic use of a drug is reduced abruptly or stopped. (Source: Addiction-ary)