“Increasing numbers of overdoses from prescription opioids and a more recent increase in heroin-associated fatalities have caused heartbreak in communities across the country.
Given the severity of this national epidemic, it is time to confront the stigma associated with opioid use disorder and its treatment with medications. By limiting the availability of care and by discouraging people who use opioids from seeking effective services, this stigma is impeding progress in reducing the toll of overdose.
Health care practitioners can counter stigma by adopting accurate, nonjudgmental language to describe this disorder, those it affects, and its therapy with medications. States can promote the provision of comprehensive health services in opioid treatment programs and expand access to effective therapies in the criminal justice system. The public can fight back against the rising threat of overdose by supporting broad access to effective treatment with medications.”
Viewpoint by Yngvild Olsen, MD, MPH; Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD
Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association – Online February 26, 2014