Substance Use Disorder and Treatments?

Substance use disorder refers to a set of symptoms that relates to a person’s use, abuse, or dependence on different substances.

We are not just talking about illegal substances, like heroin or cocaine, but legal substances as well, including tobacco and alcohol, as well as prescribed pain medications.

Our county has one of the highest rates in the state for opioid-related hospital inpatient admissions, so people are getting sick and even dying from substance use disorder.

This disorder doesn’t just affect adults; 1 in 25 teens aged 12-17 could have a substance use disorder, and over 1 million adults 65 years and older struggle with a substance use disorder.

When we are wondering if someone we know or love is struggling with substance use disorder, we should first look at their behaviors.

Is there a marked change in their attitude?

Have they been avoiding friends and family, or do they suddenly have new friends?

Has there been a decrease in their grades or work performance; are they becoming secretive?

When we are struggling with substance use disorder ourselves, we may feel as if we’ve lost control over the use of the substance.

We might be preoccupied with thinking about how we are going to get the substance, or struggling with cravings, and continuing to use the substance even though it is impacting our relationships with friends and family.

If the issue is severe enough, it may be physically difficult to stop using the substance. Nausea, chills, sweats, and tremors may all occur if the substance use is too quickly reduced or eliminated.

There is a stigma surrounding substance use disorder and addictions.

People assume it should be an easy decision to “just quit,” and it is a sign of weakness if they cannot.

Addiction is a disease and people should not feel ashamed if they have a problem.

Substance use disorder is an actual medical condition, and help is available.

Millions of Americans struggle with substance use disorder, and everyone is worth getting treatment for a better life.

It’s important to share with your friends and family about drug and alcohol use and what might be appearing to be a problem. It’s also vital to share with your children the impact that substance abuse can have on their bodies and brains.

No one plans to be a substance abuser. The good news is there is help available.

Over 23 million people in the United States are actively in recovery. Treatment is available for all stages of recovery from all substances.

Sometimes when people stop using a substance they will become sick.

Gouverneur Hospital’s Inpatient Detoxification Services can help you get through the first 3-5 days with medical supervision and assistance.

Some people may be looking for an inpatient experience where they can learn to live without a substance while receiving monitoring and support.

CPH’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Substance Use Disorder Services offer a 21- or 28-day stay that provides “tools” to a successful recovery.

Another treatment option is outpatient therapy, which involves appointments either one-on-one with a provider, or in a group setting.

Both Canton-Potsdam Hospital and Gouverneur Hospital have Substance Use Disorder Outpatient Clinics.

We’re here to help.


Gouverneur Hospital Inpatient Detoxification Services: (315) 261-5969

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation Substance Use Disorder Services: (315) 261-5964

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Substance Use Disorder Outpatient Clinic: (315) 353-2572

Gouverneur Hospital Substance Use Disorder Outpatient Clinic: (315) 261-6333


Jayme Smith, PhD, Behavioral Health Service Line Director

Substance Use Disorder (transcribed from Medical Minute)



About St. Lawrence Health System

St. Lawrence Health System was established in December, 2013 with the mission to improve health, to expand access, and to lower costs through coordination and integration of services. Encompassing several corporations, including Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, NY, and Gouverneur Hospital, Gouverneur, NY, St. Lawrence Health System also operates extension outpatient facilities in Antwerp, Brasher Falls, Canton, Colton, DeKalb Junction, Edwards, Gouverneur, Massena, Norfolk, and Potsdam. The largest employer in St. Lawrence County, with just over 1,400 employees, St. Lawrence Health System has 130 full-time medical staff members and annual net operating revenues of $180 million.