Substance use disorders affect more than 23 million Americans. Over the last 20 years, the US has experienced a five-fold increase in drug-related deaths and the overdose epidemic continues to grow with an estimated 86,000 fatal overdoses observed in 2019. Without addressing root causes, the epidemic is likely to persist without abatement into the next phase of its evolution.
As such, the Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES) applies a social determinants of health (SDoH) framework to its work. An approach grounded by SDoH recognizes that the most influential points of intervention for health outcomes are often upstream of individual-level factors. While individual behavior may be part of the path to health, the context in which individuals make health-related choices dictates their ability to act on knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs.
Expanding the narrow focus of the traditional biomedical model for addressing substance use disorder means considering how employment, housing, social and community context, education, and access to quality healthcare play a role in prevention, treatment, and recovery.