America’s 8-Step Program for Opioid Addiction

America’s 8-Step Program for Opioid Addiction
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Sept. 30, 2017
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/opinion/opioid-addiction-treatment-program.html

Opioid addiction has developed such a powerful grip on Americans that some scientists have blamed it for lowering our life expectancy.

Drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds of them from prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids, killed some 64,000 Americans last year, over 20 percent more than in 2015. That is also more than double the number in 2005, and nearly quadruple the number in 2000

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Carfentanil

Deadly Opioid Overwhelms First Responders And Crime Labs in Ohio
September 25, 2016
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/25/495052633/deadly-opioid-overwhelms-first-responders-and-crime-labs-in-ohio

Heroin isn’t new in Cincinnati, but the recent surge in overdoses is being blamed on an even more potent drug called carfentanil. It’s 100 times stronger than fentanyl, a more common synthetic opioid that is itself much stronger than heroin. Carfentanil is used to sedate elephants. It can be dangerous to even touch it without gloves.

related:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/02/492108992/an-even-deadlier-opioid-carfentanil-is-hitting-the-streets

Suboxone

Maryland Switches Opioid Treatments, And Some Patients Cry Foul
July 19, 2016
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/19/486419277/maryland-switches-opioid-treatments-and-some-patients-cry-foul

Maryland’s Medicaid program removed Suboxone film — a drug that can be used by people addicted to opioids to keep their cravings at bay — from the state’s list of preferred drugs and replaced it with a tablet form of the medication called Zubsolv.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome

Tiny Opioid Patients Need Help Easing Into Life
March 27, 2016
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/25/471279600/tiny-opioid-patients-need-help-easing-into-life

Lexi, 2 weeks old, is experiencing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Her mother took methadone to wean herself from heroin when she got pregnant, just as doctors advised. But now the hospital team has to wean newborn Lexi from the methadone.

As rates of opioid addiction have continued to climb in the U.S., the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has gone up, too — by five-fold from 2000 to 2012, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Addiction as a health issue

Heroin Claims Two Sons In One Massachusetts Family
September 8, 2015
http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/08/heroin-claims-two-avitabile-sons

… a movement to treat addiction as a health issue, and not a moral failure.

Kevin: “You know even my older brother, Patrick, even up until recently, he was sober for what would have been a year last week, and he still thought, towards the end, he got cocky. He got too confident that he could do it himself.”

Life with methadone

Drug addict Martin Jensen used to hide in elevators and stairwells when he smoked heroin. Now, he’s on methadone

Heroin in America: Life with Methadone
February 26, 2004
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1702104

Two friends in northern New York drive long distances to receive methadone treatment. Because methadone clinics are rare, especially in rural areas, many recovering heroin addicts are forced to commute hours each day just to get their medicine.

harm reduction