Addiction Still Eludes a “Magic Bullet” Cure

(Published in Health Progress.  Jan-Feb 2018. Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States. For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.) We see the effects of addiction every day. In the United States, more than 30,000 people die each year from alcohol abuse,1 and more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use.2 Although we don’t yet have the final numbers, statisticians estimate 64,000 drug overdose deaths for 2016, a figure that would make drug overdose the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. More than two-thirds of those deaths are from opiates, with the number of fentanyl deaths rising rapidly.3 As health care providers and policymakers, we see the threats that addictions pose to the lives of patients, families and communities. In recent years, the study and treatment of addiction has expanded considerably, moving away from perceiving it as a moral problem […]

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