Addressing the Opioid Crisis Means Confronting Socioeconomic Disparities

Opioid-crisis
Blog by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) The brain adapts and responds to the environments and conditions in which a person lives. When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others, not only because of genetic factors but also because of stress and a host of other environmental and social factors in their lives that have made them more vulnerable. Opioid addiction is often described as an “equal opportunity” problem that can afflict people from all races and walks of life, but while true enough, this obscures the fact that the opioid crisis has particularly affected some of the poorest regions of the country, such as Appalachia, and that people living in poverty are especially at risk for addiction and its consequences like overdose...
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Addiction a Chronic Disease of the Brain, Not a Character Flaw: Surgeon General

Addiction a Chronic Disease of the Brain, Not a Character Flaw: Surgeon General
Many people still see addiction as a character flaw instead of a chronic disease of the brain, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. He told The Huffington Post that to address the opioid epidemic, it is necessary to “change how our country sees addiction.” Almost two million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, Dr. Murthy told the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. “We can work on sharpening our prescribing practices, working with clinicians to ensure we’re treating pain safely and effectively,” he said. Doctors need to be more equipped with skills for “how to recognize and treat substance use disorders to ensure that all the needs of a patient population are cared for.”
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