Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic illness that requires consistent management, just like diabetes or asthma. SUD occurs when an individual’s use of alcohol and/or other drugs causes significant impairment to their ability to function day-to-day. “Significant impairment” can look like health problems, short and long term disability, showing up late to work or not showing up at all, missing appointments for yourself and/or loved ones, not paying bills on time, and failing to meet other major responsibilities at work, school, and/or home.

SUD changes the brain and the body. Over time, these changes increase desire and need to continue to use a substance. Those cravings can affect an individual’s judgment, motivation, and impulse control. Even though someone might know that alcohol or other drugs cause them trouble, changes in the brain make it difficult or impossible to control the desire to drink or use other drugs.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. It is the most severe type of SUD. SUD is treatable.

There are different types of SUD, including Alcohol Use Disorder, Tobacco Use Disorder, and Opioid Use Disorder. Learn more about the different types of SUD HERE.

SUD can be a difficult illness to navigate. There are many different types of services available for individuals with SUD, including treatment, harm reduction, and supportive services. There are also many services for individuals in recovery and for loved ones of an individual with SUD. If you need help with SUD, have a loved with SUD, and/or are in recovery, use the links below to get help with Substance Use Disorder.

I Need Help with Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Learn more about treatment and recovery options

I'm a Family Member

Get support as a friend or family member of someone with SUD

I'm in Recovery

Continue to manage your SUD and recovery

Need Narcan? Narcan is available to Greater Lowell residents through a variety of channels.

Learn more about Narcan