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Posted inCT Viewpoints

Abstinence, death and how to change the opioid epidemic

I chair death reviews. It’s part of my job as a medical director for a mental health and substance abuse agency. In recent years the bulk of deaths have been from opioid overdoses, now mostly fentanyl. The most-common themes are people who just left rehab, a detox program, or were released from prison. What has become clear is that abstinence-only approaches and programs for opioids don’t work, yet we continue to promote, practice, and pay for models that are ineffective and deadly.