What is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

A key step in understanding an addict is knowing that the chemical makeup of their brain has been altered by drugs. Drug abuse does not classify someone as being a “bad” person, but rather it distinguishes them as having an illness and in need of treatment.

Like many disorders, addiction is treatable. With treatment, people have the ability to stop using drugs and resume productive lives. This process of recovery involves medication, behavioral therapies, and patience for the drug abusers.

Addiction by the Numbers

  • One out of every eight people who suffered from a drug use disorder in 2014 struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.
  • 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014.
  • In the United States, addiction to opioids led to the death of over 64,000 individuals in 2016


Greater than Heroin is a group of civic and religious leaders from Northeast Ohio committed
to addressing the heroin epidemic through awareness, collaboration, resources and support.


Education, awareness and resources.
Care, compassion and support.
Community engagement and coalition building.