Perspectives On Addiction, Opioids And Managing Pain
Editorial and opinion writers offer their thoughts on these timely topics.
The New York Times:
Can You Get Over An Addiction?
There are, speaking broadly, two schools of thought on addiction: The first was that my brain had been chemically “hijacked” by drugs, leaving me no control over a chronic, progressive disease. The second was simply that I was a selfish criminal, with little regard for others, as much of the public still seems to believe. (When it’s our own loved ones who become addicted, we tend to favor the first explanation; when it’s someone else’s, we favor the second.) We are long overdue for a new perspective — both because our understanding of the neuroscience underlying addiction has changed and because so many existing treatments simply don’t work. (Maia Szalavitz, 6/25)
Senators Hatch And Wyden: Do Your Jobs And Release The Sealed Opioids Report
Like many Americans, I want to know how we got to the point that nearly 30,000 of our fellow countrymen and women died last year from overdosing on opioid painkillers. Answers, lots of answers, are to be found in a report written by staff working in the the US Senate. But the senators overseeing the report have failed to release it. (Paul D. Thacker, 6/27)
Georgia Health News:
Young Victims Of The Opioid Epidemic Need Specialized Strategies
Just a few years ago, the words “opioid epidemic” would have raised moderate public concern at best. Now, not a day goes by without news reports citing the latest statistics on overdose deaths and the most recent political initiative to combat the raging trend in drug abuse. The numbers are staggering. Opioid-related overdose deaths – primarily due to prescription painkillers and heroin – have more than quadrupled since 2000. Georgia is among the states where the increase has been particularly steep: more than 10 percent since 2013. (Michael L. Fishman, 6/24)
In Easing Chronic Pain, Marijuana May Be A Better Choice
Chronic pain is a tremendous public health problem. The Institute of Medicine estimates chronic pain affects 100 million Americans at an estimated annual cost of $600 billion. But the rampant use of opioids to treat chronic pain stands out as the least-defensible and most-harmful of our maltreatments. Many U.S. physicians remain resistant to this, though I would argue other options should be considered. (Daniel Clauw, 6/25)