Efforts to reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic remain beset by the stigma associated with drug use, a group of OHSU researchers write in a year-end review.
The stigma continues despite the fact that more than one-third of the American population used prescription opioids as of 2015, the authors report. With an estimated 60,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016 alone, the researchers emphasize the need for the American health care system to embrace medications such as methadone to treat opioid use disorder, provide addiction treatment in primary care clinics and develop non-addictive alternatives for chronic pain.
“Opioid prevention and treatment efforts in the United States remain constrained and consequently stigmatized by a legacy of federal restrictions, an unwillingness to acknowledge idiopathic addiction, and a lack of science-based interventions for chronic pain,” the authors write.
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Oregon Health & Science University, January 10, 2018