Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder (SUD) is the mental, physical, and behavioral compulsion to use drugs. SUD disorder can occur with legally prescribed medicine, other legal substances (i.e., alcohol), illegal substances (i.e., methamphetamines), or a combination. Individuals with SUD may continue to use substances despite the harm it is causing in the relationship or physical health due to distorted brain functioning. SUD, like many disorders, occurs on a continuum and can look differently from day-to-day or individual-to-individual. Provided below are basic overviews to learn more about substance use disorder and resources to find a professional near you.

Additional topics covered in this section are: Family SUD and Children, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Electronic Resources


RevoveryHub is an online search tool to find treatment resources.

Prescription Drug Dropbox locations in Montana.

Substance use disorders. Mayo Clinic provides information about symptoms, signs of intoxication, diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts. 

Substance Abuse in Rural Areas. Rural Health Information Hub overviews common questions, signs of SUD, the impact of SUD on rural communities, and rural treatment options. 

Harm Reduction Guide. American Addiction Center reviews the harm reduction model as a model for treatment with examples of utilization with various substances. 


Additional Readings

Fact Sheets

Alcohol Use in Montana. 

Meth Use in Montana.

Heroin Use in Montana.

Opioid Use in Montana.


The Impact of Covid-19 on Patients with Alcohol or Substance Use Disorder. Psychiatric Times explores substance use disorder during a pandemic. 

Substance Use in Montana: A summary of state-level initiatives for the Department of JusticeStatewide report on substance use enforcement, monitoring, treatment, and prevention. 



Drug Impacted Babies/Children Part 1: In this episode Marshelle Lambert, a Supervisor Social Worker at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Marshelle shares some of her knowledge from over 30 years of working with children and families in Indian Country in Montana. 

Drug Impacted Babies/Children Part 2: In part two on this series, Dr. Bonnie Stephens the medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Community Medical Center in Missoula, MT. Dr. Stephens shares her expertise on the effects that drug use has on babies in the womb. We also discuss the developmental effects this exposure has on children as they grow. 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a condition that occurs when an infant is exposed to addictive drugs while in the mother's womb. The fetus can become dependent on a drug along with the mother as substances are passed to the baby through the placenta. It is crucial for health care providers and social workers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of NAS so that they can provide appropriate medical services for the mother and infant.

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Electronic Resources


Babies Born Dependent on Opioids Need Touch, Not Tech. NPR story exploring best practices for babies in withdrawal, such as keeping mothers and infants together in the hospital. 

Caring for Babies with Opioid Withdrawl. Association of American Medical Colleges reviews opioid-withdrawal strategies for supporting mothers and babies.


HealthCetera podcast discusses a study from the CDC about the increase of neonates in need of treatment for opioid withdraw.

Additional Readings

Fact Sheets

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors created a two-page overview of trends in treatment. 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Nature Reviews overview diagnosis, treatment, and support for opioid exposed babies.


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A Guide for Families. 

Challenges of Foster Parents who Care for Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. 

A Mother-Centered Approach to Treating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. National Institute for Children's Health Quality highlights innovative treatment across the United States.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Therapeutic Interventions. An overview of various clinical treatments for NAS. 


Cincinnati Children's provides an overview of tips for soothing infants in withdrawal. 


Atrium Health highlights music therapy coping for babies in withdrawal, such as pacifier

activated lullaby. 

Atrium Health showcases another innovative practice of using infant massage to calm infants in withdrawal. 

Families SUD on Children

Parental substance use disorders can have lasting impacts on children. Children can be exposed to increase health risks due to being exposed to drugs and can experience neglect by not having their basic physical, psychological, and emotional needs met. By providing services and supports to families we help ensure the needs of their children are being met. 

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Electronic Resources


Guide for Children of Addicted Parents. American Addiction Centers reviews best practices to support children who have parents or family members with substance use disorder. 

Just 4 Teens: Have a parent who drinks too much? You don't have to go through it alone. National Association for Children of Addiction offers youth-friendly resources on addiction.

Parental Addiction. Sesame Street offers videos, activities, and short articles to explain substance use disorder to children six and under.

Addiction Resources for Children, Teens, Parents, and the Community. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides activities, resources, and book lists for kids and families struggling with substance use disorder.


NPR Life Kit explores six ways to support children who have parents with substance use disorder.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation podcast about the impact substance use disorder has on children.

Additional Readings


'Becoming My Mom Again': What It's Like to Grow Up Amid the Opioid Crisis. Call them Generation O, the children growing up in families trapped in a relentless grip of addiction, rehab, and prison. New York Times article.

Surviving the Secret Childhood Trauma of a Parent's Drug Addiction. Pacific Standard shares a personal story of a child growing up with a parent's substance use disorder.

Understanding the Diverse Needs of Children whose Parents Abuse Substances. Current Drug Abuse Reviews article exploring the complex risk and needs of children of parents with substance use disorder.

Ways to Empower Children to Heal. American Addiction Centers provides an infographic for working with children impacted by substance use disorder.


Willingway list of books that explain addiction to children by age group.


Sesame Street video explaining parental addiction.


Wall Stree Journal explores the impacts of opioid substance use disorder on children and families.

Betty Ford Center: Beamer Animated Series. A short cartoon series for younger children that explains addiction and treatment.