Assignment Week 3: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions

Assignment Week 3: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions

Assignment Week 3: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions

Opioid use, addiction, and overdoses have increased to alarming rates in the United States in recent years. Millions of Americans are affected by the opioid epidemic every day. Read Volkow et al.’s (2014) article and pages 1-4 in Brown’s (2018) article before discussing the following questions:

For this week’s main post, answer the following questions. Be sure to include factual, properly cited information in your post.

· What are some ways that opioid addiction is affecting the United States?

· What are some forms of treatment available to those suffering from opioid addiction?

· If you had a friend or family member suffering from opioid addiction, what sort of help would you recommend they seek?


Brown, A. R. (2018). A systematic review of psychosocial interventions in treatment of opioid addiction, Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/1533256X.2018.1485574

Coon, D., Mitterer, J.O., & Martini, T. (2019). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior (15th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Volkow, N. D., Frieden, T. R., Hyde, P. S., & Cha, S. S. (2014). Medication-assisted therapies — tackling the opioid-overdose epidemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(22), 2063-2066. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1402780


Health care systems can in- corporate nonjudgmental screen- ing, brief intervention, and refer- rals for further assessment and treatment of addiction into all clinical settings where opioids are prescribed. Conversely, addiction- treatment providers can screen patients for pain, recognizing that inadequately treated pain is a risk factor for relapse.

Payers, including Medicare and state Medicaid programs, can use data-analysis tools to spot the red flags of inappropriate prescribing and refer prescribers to medical boards or other state agencies for further review, education, and oversight. Prescription-drug mon- itoring programs can also identi- fy prescribers in need of assis- tance. Coherent, evidence-based review of clinical practice can be

conducted with the aim of supporting high-quality care

for both chronic pain and addic- tion — and avoiding the unin- tended consequence of deterring physicians from caring for pa- tients with complex needs.

Public and private insurers can provide as generous coverage for treatment of opioid-use disorder as they do for management of chronic pain. This standard is infrequently met — for example,

it is long past time for Medicare to begin covering the effective care provided in opioid-treatment programs.

It is also time for the FDA to address the intertwining of chron- ic pain and addiction farther up- stream in the drug-development cycle. The agency might consider creating a pathway for develop- ment and review of new products and indications for simultaneous treatment of chronic pain and opioid-use disorder. Building on its own work to advance the sci- ence of abuse-deterrent formula- tions, the FDA should also re- quire that prescription opioids meet basic deterrent standards and should facilitate the gradual reformulation of existing products to meet such standards. In declin- ing to apply such a standard to Zo- hydro, the agency noted that ex- isting deterrent mechanisms have had minimal impact by them- selves. However, even modest safeguards have been shown to reduce the potential for inappro- priate use.5 As part of a compre- hensive strategy, a set of reason- able requirements for opioid medications is well in line with the FDA’s public health mission. Taking such action will deter others with less expertise from filling a perceived void.

In the end, pointing the finger at Zohydro is not going to resolve

the tension that exists today be- tween chronic pain and addiction. All concerned about the treatment of chronic pain and all responding to the rise in overdose deaths need to come together to promote high- quality and effective prevention and treatment for both conditions.

Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the full text of this article at

From the Institutes for Behavior Resources (Y.O.) and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ( J.M.S.) — both in Baltimore.

Assignment Week 3: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions

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