Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major public health issue that has reached epidemic levels in some parts of the world. It is a chronic and complex neurobiological disease associated with frequent relapse to drug taking.
Over the last few years opioids have gotten a lot of bad press. But is profit motive more to blame than the drug itself?
Science now shows that this comparison is more than a metaphor. Opioids mimic the neurotransmitters that are responsible for making social connection comforting — tying parent to child, lover to beloved.
Why treating opioid addiction with other opioids isn’t a paradox.
There is a lot of controversy regarding drug treatment, but the critical factor that recurs in all treatment plans is the mind-set of society.
Addiction is ultimately a symptom of disconnection; such symptoms cannot be treated by casting people out from society. We should indeed recognize that medication is as valid as any treatment, but we should also think about changing our own mind-set, if only to help people recover.
A combination of funding, bureaucracy and fear of perpetuating addiction are to blame.
Leaving a jail or prison is a particularly risky time for opioid users, due to lower tolerance and the increased prevalence of fentanyl.
The CDC’s latest recommendations are an attempt to reel those prescriptions in. Notably, one of the first recommendations is to treat chronic pain without opioids when possible.
Arcane rules and outdated beliefs about addiction are keeping many people from getting treatment.
What if addiction is less about drugs and genetic propensities and more about circumstances? It's a question the powers-that-be might not be comfortable hearing, but for decades Bruce Alexander has worked to make addiction as we know it a thing of the past.
Kratom is available in the U.S. for just a dollar or two a dose. People in Southeast Asia have used it to treat opiate addiction for centuries. But kratom is also unregulated, often adulterated, and has been linked to several fatalities. A few states have made the substance illegal, and last year, the DEA considered a nationwide ban. Risks aside, more and more Americans are turning to this barely understood drug to break their opioid habits.
Few physicians in the U.S. have taken the training needed to prescribe medication for opioid addiction. Advocates are seeking to change that.
Addiction is a frightening reality. As part of our series looking at survivors, we explore how to tackle it.
Buprenorphine is one of only two treatments proven to cut the death rate from opioid addiction by half or more. But the programs Mr. Thompson tried viewed abstinence as the only true recovery — even though abstinence treatment has not been shown to reduce mortality and is less effective than medication at preventing relapse.
Medication-assisted treatment is often called the gold standard of addiction care. But much of the country has resisted it.
Scientists and doctors say the case is clear: The best way to tackle the country's opioid epidemic is to get more people on medications that have been proven in studies to reduce relapses and, ultimately, overdoses.
Yet, only a fraction of the more than 4 million people believed to abuse prescription painkillers or heroin in the U.S. are being given what's called medication-assisted treatment.
Patients with opioid use disorder are much more likely than the general population to have a host of other health conditions, including hepatitis C, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
But our antiquated conceptions of addicts prevent us from doing so.