• Approximately four people die every day in Ohio from drug overdose.
  • From 1999 to 2010, Ohio’s death rate due to drug overdose increased 372%.  Experts attribute much of the dramatic increase to prescription drug abuse.
  • Every year since 2007 more Ohioans died from drug overdose than car accidents.
  • The availability of heroin is currently at epidemic levels in Cleveland and other Ohio cities.
  • Alcoholism causes more than half a billion lost workdays each year in the U.S.
  • Substance abuse costs our nation over one half-trillion dollars annually.
  • More than 90% of the 23 million Americans in need of treatment for substance abuse do not receive it.
  • 2 million (1%) of U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million (2-3%) are considered problem gamblers.
  • The opening this year of Ohio’s four new casinos is expected to result in an estimated 107,100 new addicted and problem gamblers.  In Cuyahoga County alone 40,800 new problem and pathological gamblers are expected to result from the Cleveland casino’s opening.

Addiction is defined as the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences. It runs the gambit from alcohol and cigarettes to prescription and illegal drugs. And, the word addiction is often applied to compulsions that while not substance-related can be just as consuming, such as gambling, shopping, pornography, food, even exercise and texting. Lots of people are addicted to lots of different things. Understanding what addiction is and why it happens are the first steps on the road to recovery, a road that is often bumpy and full of detours.

ideastream presented in depth, multiple media coverage that delved into the mysterious and often misunderstood world of addiction. Stories and programs on radio, television and the web explored:

  • The biology of addiction and what exactly happens inside the brain of an addict.
  • Relapses and why so many continue to struggle with their addiction after treatment.
  • New medications designed to treat addictions – is there a magic pill?
  • The science behind smoking cessation programs.
  • Why the brains of teenagers are particularly vulnerable to developing an addiction.
  • How to know when you or a loved one are addicted… to anything.
  • Personal stories of greater Clevelanders who recount, in vivid detail, how addiction to crack cocaine, prescription drugs, gambling and alcohol literally destroyed their lives.

ideastream’s multiple-media coverage of addiction is part of the on-going, award winning health information series called Be Well and is presented in collaboration with The Plain Dealer and NetWellness, a consumer information website from Ohio’s three medical research universities (University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University).

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