Los Angeles

Can Anything Stop America’s Opioid Addiction?

In this Tuesday Feb. 27, 2012 photo, Kathy Deady holds up a tube of Naloxone Hydrochloride, also known as Narcan, in her Quincy, Mass., home. Narcan is a nasal spray used as an antidote for opiate drug overdoses. Deady twice had to use the drug on her son, who was suffering from an overdose of heroin. The drug counteracts the effects of heroin, OxyContin and other powerful painkillers and has been routinely used by ambulance crews and emergency rooms in the U.S. and other countries for decades. But in the past few years, public health officials across the nation have been distributing it free to addicts and their loved ones, as well as to some police and firefighters.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A Zócalo/UCLA Event
Moderated by Lisa Girion, Top News Editor for the Americas, Reuters
Downtown Independent
251 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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It’s been called the worst drug crisis in U.S. history, with death rates rivaling the AIDS scourge at its peak. Since 1999, overdose deaths driven by opioids from heroin to prescription pain relievers have nearly quadrupled, crossing age, race, socioeconomic status, and geography. In 12 states, the Centers for Disease Control counted more opioid prescriptions than people. Communities are pushing primary care physicians to incorporate treatment into their practice, seeking greater regulation of pain medicine prescriptions, and advocating for mandatory counseling and drug testing for those who seek help. As caregivers cast about for effective solutions, how viable are alternative approaches such as intensive therapy and medicinal marijuana? What is driving the surge in addiction, and what does it say about the rest of us? Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: True Tales of America’s Opiate Epidemic, UCLA legal scholar and health policy expert Jill Horwitz, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Benjamin Barron, and Larissa Mooney, Director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic, visit Zócalo to discuss America’s opioid epidemic and what more can be done to stop it.

*Photo by Charles Krupa/Associated Press.

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