US Health Officials' New Plan to Fight the Opioid Crisis: Stop Chronic Pain Before It Starts

On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health revealed its new plan to tackle the opioid crisis, which it dubbed the Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or HEAL, initiative. Among the ideas presented are research programs devoted to better understanding chronic pain, developing new non-opioid painkillers and addiction…

What Happened When a Portland Hospital Started Treating Addiction Like Any Other Illness

Over the past few years, a hospital in Portland, Oregon has dramatically shifted its approach to treating patients with substance use disorders, including opioid addiction. And since then, the hospital has undergone a “sea change” in the way its medical staff think about and address addiction, according to a study…

Doctors Are Protesting Medicare Change That Would Let Insurers Deny Opioid Prescriptions [Updated]

In response to the opioid epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans a year, the U.S. government is poised to further restrict the amount of opioids Medicare patients can have access to at any one time, via a policy that would tell insurers to deny coverage for certain prescriptions on the spot. But a…

Opioid-Addicted Americans Seem to Have This Genetic Variation in Common

Who you are is the result of a complicated interplay between your environment, your genes, and probably a few other factors science has yet to uncover. Genetics influence somewhere around half of a person’s “vulnerability to addiction,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Now, as opioid addiction has…

Maybe Addiction Is More Like a Learning Disorder Than a Disease

When Saturday Night Live aired a skit this weekend riffing on America’s new heroin epidemic—a satirical fake ad for “Heroin A.M.” to help addicts remain productive while using—many people weren’t laughing. That’s because heroin and other powerful opiates are killing more people than ever, across all demographics. So…