Substance use disorders and the harms associated with these diseases are a serious, growing public health problem in the United States. More than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2016, which translates to 115 lives lost each day.
The nation’s opioid epidemic has been making headlines, and much is required to curtail this public health crisis. In this episode, we hear more about the problems associated with opiate misuse and the path forward. Host Dan LeDuc talks with Cindy Reilly, director of Pew’s substance use prevention and treatment initiative, which works to expand access to treatment, and Dr. Shawn Ryan, president and chief medical officer at BrightView Health in Cincinnati, where he guides patients through treatment. We also speak with a nurse in Minnesota who struggled with a substance use disorder and is now on the other side of addiction. To learn more, visit pewtrusts.org/afterthefact.
Opioid use disorder is a complex brain disease, but it is often still viewed as a moral failing. This stigma can keep people from accessing care for their disease, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines Food and Drug Administration-approved medications with behavioral therapies. Watch how MAT can help people manage their disease, a critical step in reducing the risk of overdose and improving health.
Opioid overdoses cause one death every 20 minutes. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—a combination of psychosocial therapy and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication—is the most effective intervention to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and is more effective than either behavioral interventions or medication alone. MAT significantly reduces illicit opioid use compared with nondrug approaches, and increased access to these therapies can reduce overdose fatalities. However, MAT is often unavailable to those in need of it because of inadequate funding for treatment programs and a lack of qualified providers who can deliver these therapies.