Breaking News
April 23, 2018 - Key factor in development of Parkinson’s disease identified
April 23, 2018 - Higher consumption of fish linked to better neurological health
April 23, 2018 - Researchers clarify immune response for patients with breast cancer brain metastases
April 23, 2018 - Polypharmacy More Likely for Cancer Survivors
April 23, 2018 - Obesity is shifting cancer to young adults
April 23, 2018 - Scientists illustrate role of novel chromosomal mutations in fosfomycin resistance
April 23, 2018 - Newly developed drug compound may help treat Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
April 23, 2018 - Marriage Means ‘I Do’ for Skin Cancer Detection
April 23, 2018 - Freezing hunger-signaling nerve may help ignite weight loss
April 23, 2018 - Wear exoskeletons with caution for heavy lifting, researchers say
April 23, 2018 - Research offers new hope for healing wounds in patients with diabetes
April 23, 2018 - Shorter courses of radiotherapy found to be safe, effective for prostate cancer patients
April 23, 2018 - Scientists use CRISPR tool to make multiple edits to DNA samples ‘in vitro’
April 23, 2018 - Knee reconstructions are on the rise among the youth in Australia
April 23, 2018 - Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity warn researchers
April 23, 2018 - CDC seeking $400 million to replace lab for deadliest germs
April 23, 2018 - Sensirion to present single-use liquid flow sensor at COMPAMED 2017
April 23, 2018 - FDA approves contact lenses that shade the sun
April 22, 2018 - Concussion recovery and symptom severity found to vary between men and women
April 22, 2018 - C. Difficile Risk Higher With Stoma Reversal Versus Colectomy
April 22, 2018 - Repeated ranibizumab doesn’t impair macular perfusion
April 22, 2018 - New microscope reveals how cells behave in 3D and real time inside living organisms
April 22, 2018 - Study shows clinical benefit and monetary gains of weight-loss surgery
April 22, 2018 - GNA Biosolutions launches world’s first Laser PCR platform at Medica Trade Fair
April 22, 2018 - Researchers present simulation model to investigate hospital responsiveness to mass casualty incidents
April 22, 2018 - Does Pot Really Dull a Teen’s Brain?
April 22, 2018 - Controversial pregnancy test drug shows deformities in zebrafish embryos within hours of exposure
April 22, 2018 - New research partnership makes childbirth safer in Mozambique
April 22, 2018 - Brief bedside visual art intervention reduces pain, anxiety in cancer patients
April 22, 2018 - The memory part of the brain may also hold clues for anxiety and depression
April 22, 2018 - AYOXXA to develop multiplex immunoassay to support treatment of sepsis patients
April 22, 2018 - New Drug Combo Ups Survival in HER2/neu Uterine Serous Cancer
April 22, 2018 - Researchers chart a new way to look at concussion
April 22, 2018 - Every parent needs to know fundamental red flags for autism
April 22, 2018 - Anatotemp expands anatomic dental implant healing abutments with 4Side anti-rotational connection
April 22, 2018 - Gene Twist Can Make Your Blood Pressure Spike From Salt
April 22, 2018 - Study suggests failed osteoarthritis drug could help treat opioid addiction
April 22, 2018 - More Americans aware of growing problem of opioid addiction
April 22, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Nothing in health care ever goes away
April 22, 2018 - BGS to promote high-quality sterilization services at Health GB in Manchester
April 22, 2018 - New integrated POC tool detects biomarkers of heart failure rapidly and precisely
April 22, 2018 - Direct electrical current can be delivered to nerves for blocking pain signals
April 22, 2018 - Newly Published Phase 2 Study Found Esketamine Demonstrated Significantly Rapid Improvements in Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality
April 22, 2018 - Healthy red blood cells owe their shape to muscle-like structures
April 22, 2018 - Researchers present case study of management of rheumatic mitral regurgitation in woman contemplating pregnancy
April 22, 2018 - New black Porvair Krystal UV Quartz microplates for Circular Dichroism measurements
April 22, 2018 - Advanced flow chemistry modules enhance control of nanoprecipitation
April 22, 2018 - Look! Down in the petri dish! It’s a superplatelet!
April 22, 2018 - Research reveals why people with tetraplegia more likely to suffer from sleep apnea
April 21, 2018 - New non-invasive nerve stimulation may offer relief for people with hand tremor
April 21, 2018 - Smartphone App May Up Medication Adherence in HTN
April 21, 2018 - Western diet depletes artery-protecting immune cells
April 21, 2018 - Excelitas Technologies launches new powerful LED light source for fluorescence microscopy
April 21, 2018 - Academia and high tech companies join forces to increase production capacity for microfluidic systems
April 21, 2018 - Developing cooking skills as young adult may have long-term health benefits
April 21, 2018 - Study compares survival outcomes of different drugs for type 2 diabetes
April 21, 2018 - More Than 40 Percent of Americans Breathe Dirty Air: Report
April 21, 2018 - Obstructive sleep apnea – Genetics Home Reference
April 21, 2018 - More evidence shows exposure to traffic and outdoor air pollution increases risk of asthma
April 21, 2018 - Novel gold nanoparticle technology could guide cancer treatment in real-time
April 21, 2018 - News coverage of Ebola impacted public’s perception on disease and survivors
April 21, 2018 - S.Africa’s DIY battle against HIV
April 21, 2018 - Children with autism have gastrointestinal and immune system deregulation, research finds
April 21, 2018 - Human brain processes sight and sound in the same way, shows study
April 21, 2018 - Evolutionary history of tumor helps predict severity of prostate cancer
April 21, 2018 - Pepper plant metabolizes antibiotic in personal care products
April 21, 2018 - Tradeshow Talks with Integra
April 21, 2018 - EPFL becomes part of Chan Zuckerberg’s project to develop Human Cell Atlas
April 21, 2018 - Pfizer Announces Positive Topline Results From Phase 3 ATTR-ACT Study Of Tafamidis In Patients With Transthyretin Cardiomyopathy
April 21, 2018 - Breaking through the HIV vaccine ‘logjam’
April 21, 2018 - IntelliCyt introduces new QSol buffer to enable robust, consistent sampling
April 21, 2018 - Scientists publish comprehensive lineage tree of whole adult animal in Science journal
April 21, 2018 - Innovative method based on FluidFM technology could revolutionize biological research
April 21, 2018 - Americans world’s biggest TV addicts, watching four hours a day
April 21, 2018 - Investigational drug may help increase protein levels in babies with spinal muscular atrophy
April 21, 2018 - Study shows distinctions between age groups in predicting and responding to stress at home
April 21, 2018 - Aziyo Biologics, BIOTRONIK enter into US co-distribution agreement
April 21, 2018 - Opiate Use Linked to Early Mortality in IBD Patients
April 21, 2018 - Online ads help pregnant smokers quit
April 21, 2018 - Opioid pain medications may not be safe for hemodialysis patients
GOP Senator: Solve Opioid Crisis Through Community, Not Policy

GOP Senator: Solve Opioid Crisis Through Community, Not Policy

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

WASHINGTON — Trying to understand who gets addicted to opioids, and what drives them to drugs in the first place, can help shape a response to the issue, according to a Republican lawmaker.

At an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) briefing on Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tied the roots of the opioid abuse epidemic in the U.S. back to the Civil War, and the “social turmoil” that followed. The war “robbed Americans of a sense of purpose” that left people vulnerable to addiction, just as opioids were entering the country, he stated.

A Republican lawmaker and policy experts explored the role of social and cultural factors in the opioid epidemic and ways to address the crisis during an AEI panel discussion on Tuesday.

Lee added that he sees parallels with that crisis and the current epidemic. “The people most vulnerable to opioid addiction are often lonely and cut off from sources of personal fulfillment. And by that I mean family, meaningful work, and engagement with friends and with neighbors.”

Lee and others gathered at AEI to discuss “The Numbers Behind the Opioid Crisis” — a recent report from the Social Capital Project of the Joint Economic Committee, for which Lee serves as chair. The research initiative focused on “the evolving nature, quality, and importance” of social relationships to the nation.

People who are divorced or unmarried account for 32% of all American adults (ages ≥25), he said, but also accounted for 71% of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2015. Adults with only a high school education are also “disproportionately likely” to die from an opioid overdose, he added.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • In 2016, 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, with two-thirds of those overdoses attributable to opioids.
  • Prescription pain relievers “freely given by friends and family” represent 40% of the drugs taken by “abusers.”
  • In 2015, 40% of adults had only a high school diploma or equivalent degree but “accounted for 68% of opioid overdose deaths.”
  • From 2009 to 2014, the proportion of children whose cases of “out-of-home placement” related to a parent’s drug or alcohol use increased from 29.4% to 35.1%.

Lee underscored the second point, noting “most people don’t ultimately get their pain pills through a legitimate prescription.”

He cited AEI resident scholar Sally Satel, MD, who recently penned an op-ed for Politico, highlighting the “false narrative” that the opioid crisis has been largely fueled by patients becoming addicted to opioids prescribed by doctors. Satel is a practicing psychiatrist at a Washington methadone clinic, and a lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

In the piece, Satel wrote that while the number of opioid prescriptions “did increase markedly from the mid-1990s to 2011,” and “some people became addicted through those prescriptions,” surveys and reviews of the data show “only a minority of people who are prescribed opioids for pain become addicted to them, and those who do become addicted and who die from painkiller overdoses tend to obtain these medications from sources other than their own physicians.” The op-ed has drawn nearly 100 comments to date. (Leaders of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, which urges that the drugs be prescribed sparingly, subsequently wrote a rebuttal.)

There are no easy legislative solutions to the crisis, Lee cautioned, while also warning against “knee jerk responses” by the federal government.

“There is strong evidence that the government has itself done substantial harm by, among other things, paying for a flood of pain pills through Medicaid and the Medicare Prescription drug program,” he stated.

Instead, Lee called for solutions at a local level. The opioid epidemic is strongest in “already eroding communities” and its most vulnerable targets are those who are already isolated, he said.

“If we’re going to the halt the spread of opioids, and if we have any hope of stopping the next drug crisis, then we need to build resilient families and resilient communities. That’s a project that can be accomplished only at the community level; only at the personal level,” he said.

He cited two treatment programs in Utah as examples of such community building. Odyssey House is a not-for-profit which steers people with addiction away from the criminal justice system and into supportive treatment. The Other Side Academy is a 2-year program for people who have already detoxed that aims to prevent relapse by helping individuals find work.

Five years after graduating, more than two-thirds of participants in the Other Side program are “crime-free” and “drug-free,” Lee said. “The examples could be multiplied.”

1969-12-31T19:00:00-0500

last updated

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles