Laura Jean Bierut, Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry
There is no doubt that the opioid epidemic, which has been building in the U.S. for the past two decades, is a public health crisis. But after a slow start, public health efforts are targeting this issue at the local, state and federal levels.
Missouri has prioritized expanding access to life-saving medications naloxone (marketed as Narcan) — a drug that reverses the deadly effects of an overdose — and buprenorphine and methadone, two medications aimed at taming opioid cravings. To increase access to treatment, the state also contracts with drug-treatment centers that provide counseling aimed at breaking addiction. Unfortunately, however, most treatment centers do not fully use these evidence-based medication approaches, nor do they publicly report their patients’ treatment outcomes. So their effectiveness is largely unknown.
In determining what works best for Missourians, reliable data from all avenues of treatment are essential.
Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.