Substance Misuse

The Kennedy Forum Illinois: Collaboration to drive solutions

So often when we speak about mental illness and substance use disorders, we talk about numbers: the number of people who have died from overdoses; the number of people who take antidepressants; the cost of mental health to society at large.

However, at the Kennedy Forum Illinois in December, keynote speakers put a face and soul to addiction.

Read More

The Yin and Yang of 2016: A Crisis Year Holds Promise

Almost a century has passed, but these words continue to ring true and speak to our current tragic opiate crisis.

This crisis has touched almost everyone I have met and has spared no demographic group. The silver lining in this cloudy sky is the mobilization and alignment of legislators, medical professionals, the public and the insurance industry on wiping out this epidemic. Fortunately, changes have occurred rapidly that foretell a positive direction.

Read More

ECHO: Expanding community-based treatment for opioid use disorder

With the breakneck speed at which health care research is advancing, it’s logical to argue that medical knowledge is outpacing medical practice, especially in behavioral health.

That’s why it’s important for Beacon Health Options (Beacon) to seek out the tools health professionals need to stay abreast of the latest advancements in evidence-based care.

Read More

A Reflection on What it Means to Look in the Mirror

It’s not always easy to look in the mirror, especially at my age when the blemishes of experience start to crop up as brown spots and fine (or not-so-fine) lines.

However, my age has also taught me that the real difficulty of looking in the mirror is beyond a skin-deep reflection. I had an experience recently on my way to a hair appointment that forced a look beyond the fine lines.

Read More

Prince: Fame Highlights the Infamy of Opioid Addiction

I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.

I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.

Read More

Addiction Treatment: Let’s Get Our Definitions Straight

Everyone seems to have a theory about addiction.

Some say it’s a character flaw. Just say no. Others say it’s a victimization. Society has done me wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous says it’s a spiritual emptiness. Find your version of God, and you will find your way. Then, there are neuroscientists who say it’s a chronic brain disease while others say it’s a chronic societal disease.

Read More

Addiction: It may not be us; it may be our cages

Our country’s “War on Drugs” began in 1971 with President Nixon’s declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one in the United States.”

In addition to drugs as a symbol of youthful rebellion and radicalization, America’s new home-turf war was fueled by a growing literature base supporting the biological theory of addiction. However, one of the most interesting experiments to emerge from that era challenged this biological view. It became known as “Rat Park.”

Read More

Beginners Guide: Neuroscience of Opioid Addiction

In February, President Obama proposed a FY17 budget that allocates $1.1B in new funding to address the opioid use disorder crisis in the United States.

Whatever one’s politics (or general anxieties about the 2016 election season), we all agree that something must change. Despite the best efforts of policymakers, health care professionals, and communities to combat this problem, opioid deaths continue to rise, prompting the question: Why is the epidemic so pervasive?

Read More

Ketamine: Magic Bullet?

In the news: Recent publication of the almost immediate resolution of treatment-resistant depression (TRD) following Ketamine infusion has sparked tremendous interest within the fields of clinical psychiatry and psychotropic drug development. It has also sparked the entrepreneurial development of specialized ketamine clinics, despite the lack of Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ketamine for this purpose. And, of course, third-party payers are being asked to cover these services. Should they? After all, there is replicated evidence for ketamine’s rapid antidepressant effects.[i] Background: Ketamine was FDA-approved as an anesthetic agent in 1964 and was widely used for soldiers injured in the Vietnam War.[ii] Its legitimate role has expanded over the years to include pain management and veterinary surgery. Ketamine was also…

Read More

Medical Marijuana: An Oxymoron?

Has public opinion trumped the rigors of the scientific method – clinically sound research that supports or negates the efficacy of marijuana for medical use? A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) devoted two extensive clinical reviews, a research letter, an editorial and a patient page to topics related to medical marijuana. The reviews lay bare what is at the heart of the medical marijuana debate for the health care industry: Has public opinion trumped the rigors of the scientific method – clinically sound research that supports or negates the efficacy of marijuana for medical use? There are downstream effects of the legalization of medical marijuana that are not specifically related to efficacy or safety….

Read More