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Papers of the Week

2019 Apr

Focus (Am Psychiatr Publ)



Psychiatry and the Opioid Overdose Crisis.


Madras BK, Connery H
Focus (Am Psychiatr Publ). 2019 Apr; 17(2):128-133.
PMID: 31975968.


For the third year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an unprecedented decline in life expectancy for the United States, a decline attributable mainly to drug overdose deaths and suicides. Drug overdoses have continued to rise and are now estimated to account for 70,237 deaths in 2017. The root causes of the modern opioid crisis are complex and traceable to at least 30 factors. A prime driver has been the health care system. Pressure on medical practitioners to resort to opioids for managing chronic pain led to a nation awash with prescription opioids. In 2017, an unprecedented action was taken by President Donald J. Trump as he signed an executive order establishing the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, tasked with producing guidance on reversing the crisis. The 56 recommendations of the President's Commission report were grounded in advanced strategies for prevention, treatment, rescue, recovery support, research, improved data analytics, and accountability. With a focus on the quality of treatment services and recovery homes, the report calls for implementing high standards of care for treatment. Specialists in addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry are best positioned to develop and implement high-quality care.