Drug Use Disorder vs. Drug Misuse - What is the Difference?


In 2016, approximately 2.1 million Americans over the age of 11 suffered from addiction to opioids such as the prescription pain medications OxyContin and Vicodin or the illegal drug heroin. Yet, 11.8 million people – nearly six times as many – reported misusing opioids, primarily prescription medications. Although it does not receive the same media attention as addiction – clinically known as opioid use disorder - this startling figure highlights a serious yet often overlooked problem within our society: the issue of opioid misuse. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “DRUG USE DISORDER” AND “DRUG MISUSE”?As the clinical term for drug addiction, drug use disorder (DUD) describes a complex disease that affects both the brain and the body. DUD, characterized by the compulsive use of one or more drugs, such as opioids, despite serious health and social consequences, typically develops during an individual’s adolescence and may affect him/her for an extended period...

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