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Addiction medicine

US Experts: Medicines for Opioid Addiction Vastly Underused

March 22, 2019

WASHINGTON — Medicines proven to treat opioid addiction remain vastly underused in the U.S., the nation's top medical advisers said Wednesday.

Only a fraction of the estimated 2 million people addicted to opioids are getting the medications, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The influential group, which advises the federal government, called for increased prescribing of the drugs and other changes to reduce barriers to their use.

In 2017, opioids were involved in nearly 48,000 deaths — a record. In recent years, there have been more deaths involving illicit opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, than the prescription forms of the drugs, which include oxycodone and codeine.

Government-approved medications, which include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone, help control cravings and withdrawal symptoms like nausea, muscle aches and pain. Their use is backed by most doctors and medical groups. Yet they still have skeptics, especially among supporters of 12-step programs that favor abstinence-only approaches.

Link to full article here, originally posted on: The NY times logo]]>

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