INDIAN ISLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On Tuesday, Judith Josiah-Martin, Director of Multicultural Student life at the University of Maine, spoke to community members about the legacy of addiction, and the myths behind it.
"We tend to think they're bad people, they're crazy people, they're just drug-seeking, abusing people that we are wasting our resources on," said Josiah-Martin.
But Josiah-Martin says this is an illness, just like any other illness, and it needs to be treated.
"It's something that disturbs, changes and alters how people function, how people think how people behave," said Josiah-Martin.
Another myth behind addiction is that there's no life after recovery, which Josiah-Martin says is not true. She says that misconception arises because addicts stay anonymous through recovery, and the public only hears about them if they get arrested.
"We don't tend to hear anything about people in recovery, the people who have gone on who have five, 10, 15, 20 years of recovery who are living productive lives, who run companies, who teach, who have gone on to full careers or have beautiful families," said Josiah-Martin.
An example is Marissa Mitchell, who spoke publicly about her addiction for the first time. She said bullying is what made her turn to drugs 15 years ago. She's now been clean for 10 years, and hopes to help others beat the addiction that once plagued her.
"My recovery story could be totally different from another person, but they can't do it alone is basically what I want them to know, that you need the support from other people to get through and to stay clean," said Mitchell.
In 2008, 5,685 people in Maine were admitted for opiate treatment. That number is the 12th highest in the country, and the 2nd highest in the New England behind Vermont.
"At the same time we have some of the best services here whether its through the Maine health care system or other community services," said Josiah-Martin.
In hopes of releasing more people from the destructive effects of opiate dependency.