A Physician's Reflections on Medicine, Life & Change

Our Ambivalence About Addiction is Killing Us

We lost more than 33,000 Americans to opioid overdoses in 2015.  Over 50,000 succumbed to all overdoses. That’s more than were murdered, killed themselves or died in car accidents that year. 

Yet, we can’t make up our mind. To what extent is addiction a disease and to what extent a moral failing? To what extent is it a public health problem and to what extent a criminal justice problem? Should we help people with addiction or should we just lock them up until they confess their sins and reform? If we help them, should we or should we not help them with medications the same way we help people with other chronic diseases? Should there be a time-limit on our help? Our inability to make up our collective mind is costing us lives.

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