Criminal Justice

Picture of Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Provides scientific information about the disease of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug abuse and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat the disease.

Versión en español:
La Ciencia de la Adiccion

This tool is designed for people who have stopped drug use while they were detained in the criminal justice system or while receiving inpatient or outpatient treatment. To prepare these individuals to return to their home environment, counselors can customize this tool to help them identify triggers that could prompt a drug relapse. It also includes information about resources and helplines. These discreet cards can be kept in a wallet, pocket, purse, or cell phone case for easy access.

Content is as follows:


  • Addiction is a brain disease.
  • Drugs change the structure of the brain and how it works.
    • These brain changes can be long-lasting and can lead to harmful behaviors.
    • They can also create and spark triggers that bring on drug cravings. This makes it hard to be around your triggers even if you’ve been drug-free for a long time.


A trigger is anything that makes you feel the urge to go back to using drugs because it reminds you of taking a drug and getting high. Learn your triggers and stay away from them:

    ■ Place ■ Person ■ Thing ■ Smell ■ Feeling
    ■ Picture ■ Something stressful ■ Memory

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Treatment is effective in helping people achieve recovery. It can include medication and/or counseling.

Your risk of overdose is very high if you go back to using. Your body can’t handle the same amount of drug you used before. If you overdose and don’t get treatment immediately, you could die.
This information is based on evidence from NIDA-supported research.


Find treatment in your area: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (toll-free) or

In an emergency, call 911 or get to an emergency room.
Emergency opioid overdose reversal info:

For More Resources: | |
To order these free cards:

Picture of Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

Offers guidance in seeking drug abuse treatment and lists five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program.

See NIDA's step-by-step guides on getting treatment for drug use:
What to do if you have a problem with drugs:
For teens and young adults
For adults
What to do if someone you know has a problem with drugs:
Your teen or young adult
Your adult friend or loved one
Click here for more information on treatment. 
En español: Encuentre más información sobre el tratamiento y los pasos para tomar para ayudarse a sí mismo o a un ser querido aquí