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Substance use disorder, commonly known as addiction, affects one in three households in the U.S. That’s one-third of all American families. Approximately 28 million individuals currently live with a highly treatable, but also highly stigmatized mental health disorder. What do all these people have in common? They work. And many continue to face antiquated, discriminatory practices that consider addiction a moral failing. According to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, people who work in the trade industries are most impacted by substance use disorder. Construction workers were involved in almost a quarter of overdose deaths recorded in the state over...
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About two dozen opioid victims aired grievances directly to three members of the Sackler family in a virtual hearing last week. When a bankruptcy judge approved a reorganization plan for Purdue Pharma last year, an accompanying provision shielded the Sackler family owners from legal liability. That clause, in effect, denied victims of the opioid epidemic their day in court. But last Thursday, about two dozen of those victims got a chance to air their grievances directly to three of the Sacklers. And they didn’t hold back, telling of incalculable loss suffered by them or their loved ones from physician-prescribed OxyContin...
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For those suffering with depression and suicide ideation, or if someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or find them online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org. For two decades, drug overdose deaths and suicides have been rising across the United States, exposing tragic gaps in mental and behavioral health care in the years before the coronavirus pandemic, according to new federal research. From 2001 to 2019, intentional overdoses increased most steeply among the nation’s youngest generations, oldest generations and Black women, researchers found. And experts agreed these rates were very likely undercounts. Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in...
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Sweeping social change often begins as a ripple in quiet places: conversations around the kitchen table, in church basements, on school campuses, and the like. For the recovery movement, conversations between concerned family members, teachers, rehab counselors, emergency medical technicians and street medics, and many others who are part of recovery community organizations are helping undertake a massive shift in the perception of addiction in the U.S. Recovery community organizations (RCOs) are independent, non-profit organizations led and governed by representatives of communities of recovery. RCOs organize recovery-focused activities, carry out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and/or provide recovery support...
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The U.S. faces an unprecedented surge of drug deaths, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting another grim milestone this week. In a single 12-month period, fatal overdoses claimed 101,623 lives. But researchers and drug policy experts say the grim toll obscures an important and hopeful fact: Most Americans who experience alcohol and drug addiction survive. They recover and go on to live full and healthy lives. “This is really good news I think and something to share and be hopeful about,” said Dr. John Kelly, who teaches addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School and heads the Recovery...
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(published by the American Medical Association) As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate families and communities across the U.S., we cannot ignore that illicit fentanyl is fueling the nation’s drug overdose epidemic and primarily responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people last year alone. Unless policymakers take action in 2022 to update rules and laws that are enabling our worsening overdose epidemic, more Americans will die, and more families will suffer preventable tragedies. The stakes are high. Drug-overdose deaths are an epidemic in the U.S., touching virtually every state. About 60% of those deaths in the past year are linked...
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Dear Friends, We’re just about to close out 2021. And as we get ready to ring in 2022, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our purpose and double down on our commitment to do our part to end the American overdose crisis. Amidst a national crisis that claimed over 100,000 lives to preventable overdoses last year, the Voices Project was grateful to partner with the the Clinton Foundation, the Sandgaard Foundation, and Direct Relief International on the newly formed Overdose Response Initiative. The goal of this multi-year initiative is to distribute free life-saving naloxone to communities in need, people who use drugs, and those most...
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Over the last 25 years, Stephen M. Taylor, MD, MPH, has treated countless people with substance-use disorder and other addiction illnesses. But he has never treated an “addict.” There’s no such thing as an addict, said Dr. Taylor, who serves as chief medical officer at Pathway Healthcare’s Behavioral Health Division in Birmingham, Alabama. “There is such a thing as a person with the illness of addiction or a person with a substance-use disorder.” The American Medical Association (AMA) has addressed this matter head-on, outlining the ways in which physicians should convey respect to patients, and changing the words they use...
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More than 100,000 people died over a 12-month period from fatal drug overdoses for the first time in U.S. history, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “To all those families who have mourned a loved one and to all those people who are facing addiction or are in recovery: you are in our hearts,” President Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. “Together, we will turn the tide on this epidemic.” “This tragic milestone represents an increase of 28.5%” over the same period just a year earlier, said Dr. Deb Houry with...
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While Americans were paralyzed by the global pandemic, a second killer was quietly taking lives: drug overdose. In the 12-month period ending March 2021, overdose rates in the United States hit an all-time record. As a person in recovery from opioid addiction who works with some of our most vulnerable at risk of an overdose, I constantly ask myself: how did we get to this point? Over the past year, I’ve buried a half dozen people close to me who died a preventable death. I didn’t need to see the headlines to know that we’re hitting another grim milestone. Even...
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