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American Society of Addiciton Medicine
Jun 3, 2024 Reporting from Rockville, MD
Guest Editorial: How Much Do We Care?
/news/detail/2024/06/04/guest-editorial--how-much-do-we-care
Jun 3, 2024
The recent article “Has Fentanyl Peaked?” in The New York Times had me asking a different question: How much do we care about Americans with addiction, dying at unprecedented numbers from an increasingly lethal drug supply?

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American Society of Addictin Medicine

News

Guest Editorial: How Much Do We Care?

June 3, 2024

By: Dr. Brian Hurley

While CDC’s report of a provisional 3% drop in overdose deaths last year is good news, the recent article “ ” in The New York Times had me asking a different question:  How much do we care about Americans with addiction, dying at unprecedented numbers from an ?

In his article, Mr. Lopez points out that policymakers could act to decrease fentanyl-related deaths, while concluding that the ‘opioid epidemic is burning out anyway.’ Though such prediction’s accuracy is questionable, one rationale given for it pulls no punches:  ‘Users die.’

Working alongside other healthcare professionals for the over 48 million Americans with substance use disorder, every day I witness evidence-based care saving lives. Our best tools for keeping people with opioid use disorder (OUD) alive are medications for OUD. More clinicians prescribe buprenorphine, but barriers such as stigma, insurance coverage limitations, overregulation, and fear of law enforcement interference with medical practice remain. It is even worse for Americans who need methadone - not even a board-certified addiction specialist physician, like me, can prescribe it for addiction.

With overdose deaths still near-record highs, this crisis is far from over.

I hope that we care - deeply.