Addiction

Naloxone: An important tool, but not the solution to the opioid crisis

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

A person who receives naloxone for an overdose is typically observed for several hours in a hospital’s emergency department and then discharged, but what happens to them after that? ED staff at a Boston hospital studied the survival rate for these patients.

Looking under the hood: How brain science informs addiction treatment

Elena H. Chartoff, PhD
Elena H. Chartoff, PhD, Contributor

Treatment of substance use disorders starts with the clinicians who see patients directly, but the ongoing search for more effective treatment options that will help the widest range of people begins with brain science.

Addiction, the opioid crisis, and family pain

Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel, Contributor

The changes in understanding around substance use disorders are making treatment more readily available to those who need it and reducing the stigma attached to addiction, but may make those with addiction in their family history feel that the change has come too late for them.

Too many pain pills after surgery: When good intentions go awry

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on lives. There are many factors behind this crisis, some of which may be surprising. A reasonable and well-intentioned effort to reduce and relieve pain can inadvertently lead to a potentially life-threatening addiction, but there are some surprisingly simple ways to avoid such scenarios.

This is your brain on alcohol

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Moderate drinking may have negative long-term effects on the brain’s health, but as yet the research is inconclusive, and must be weighed alongside the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption benefits the heart. If you’re a moderate or light drinker trying to decide whether to cut back for health reasons, you probably want to consider a variety of factors.

Working on addiction in the workplace

John F. Kelly, PhD
John F. Kelly, PhD, Contributor

Addiction among employees costs American businesses billions each year, so it’s in employers’ interest to promote a healthy, drug-free workplace and facilitate treatment for those employees who seek it.

What is addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Contributor

As understanding of addiction evolves, experts now believe that the roots of addiction can be found in a person’s efforts to escape discomfort and that this drive that can take a number of possible expressions, whether through a substance or an activity. The road to recovery can be long and include setbacks, but with time life can become much better.

Safe injection sites and reducing the stigma of addiction

Scott Weiner, MD
Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor

The scope of the opioid crisis in the US has led some individuals and communities to revise their view of addiction and substance use disorders. One idea being considered is creating supervised injection facilities that would provide a safe environment and make treatment resources available to those who want them.

Opioid addiction: Long-term treatment for a chronic condition

Glen Buchberger, MD
Glen Buchberger, MD, Contributor

Studies suggest that extended medication-assisted treatment is more effective in treating opioid addiction than short term use. This strategy may prove an important part of addressing the opioid crisis.

When a loved one is addicted to opiates

Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

Considering the death toll from opioid overdoses, responding to loved one’s opioid addiction love and empathy might be the safer and more effective method for friends and families to take. At the same time, It is essential to pay attention to the wellbeing of the family members themselves, as having a loved one with a substance use disorder can be profoundly stressful and disruptive, even traumatic.