Confronting an opioid overdose epidemic that kills nearly 100 Americans every day takes a combination of interventions across sectors. But a common thread throughout, says Andrew Kolodny, MD, should be viewing the problem not as an epidemic of abuse, but as an epidemic of addiction.
“If you refer to it as an abuse problem, it leads people to believe the problem is a lot of folks behaving badly and abusing drugs,” said Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University. “But that’s not at all what’s going on. The majority of deaths happen in people suffering from opioid addiction — these are people who aren’t taking opioids for fun but to avoid feeling the agonizing pain of withdrawal.”
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