Pain medication such as oxycodone often helps cancer patients deal with intense pain after treatment, but it also can lead to abuse.
The opioid epidemic has hit parts of Appalachia very hard' places where cancer rates are high. Many patients are surviving cancer treatment only to become addicted.
Mortality data show only the final result of opioid overdose, not why it happens.
Skyward Kick Productions/Shutterstock.com
The toll of the opioid epidemic is often derived from toxicology reports. These rely on drug tests. A medical historian explains these tests and how they fall short of capturing why people are dying.
wong yu liang/Shutterstock
The opioid crisis in the US has quadrupled the number of babies born addicted to drugs.
The US opioid epidemic killed more than 40,000 people in 2016 – now, other countries are at risk.
The U.S. has the highest daily opioid use rate in the world.
Most countries need to find a happy balance between the American attitude that all pain needs to be cured – and the ethos in other countries that pain is to be endured.
Scientists have taken atomic resolution snapshots of an opioid receptor interacting with a drug. Now they are using these images to design "biased" opioids that block pain without the dangerous side effects.
Every patient is different.
Each person experiences pain differently, depending on his or her genetic makeup. That makes it difficult to figure out what treatments patients need.
Naloxone is often used to revive people overdosing from opioids.
Scientists are just starting to understand how your parents' genes and experiences might shape your own susceptibility to dangerous drugs. Could that help to stop addictions before they start?
Pain lets us know when there is something wrong, but sometimes our brains can trick us.
Mai Lam/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Trust Me I’m An Expert: The science of pain.
The Conversation 58,7 Mo (download)
Our podcast Trust Me, I'm An Expert, goes beyond the headlines and asks researchers to explain the evidence on issues making news. Today, we're talking pain and what science says about managing it.
A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
As the nation grapples with its opioid addiction epidemic, an understanding of how the drugs affect people is important. The powerful class of drugs actually can change the brain.
The leaves of the plant kratom.
The herb kratom has a large following and is so popular that it is sold in vending machines. The FDA recently issued a public warning about the herb, which contains low levels of opioids.
President Donald Trump displays a presidential memorandum he signed, declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 26, 2017, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Opioids kill an average of eight people every day in Canada. The federal government must officially declare this a 'public welfare emergency' and invest the funds critical to a humane response.
Michelle Holley holds a photograph of her daughter Jaime Holley, 19, who died of a heroin overdose in November 2016.
Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Your guide to a public health crisis that's likely to get worse.
Talk it out.
While talking about drugs with young people isn't always comfortable, research has shown that it's critical for prevention.
Schedule 2 narcotics: Morphine Sulfate, OxyContin and Opana.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo
How can we fight the opioid epidemic? Redesign the drugs, rethink how we assess patients and mandate prescription monitoring.
Drug addiction isn't about bad habits, fear of withdrawal or a selfish search for pleasure. It's about the brain.
Discarded used hypodermic needles along the Merrimack River in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Charles Krupa/AP Photos
HIV, STIs and other dangerous infections are feeding off of the opioid epidemic, creating an even more complicated threat to public health.
For patients with chronic pain, the answer isn’t simple.
Chris Post/AP Photo
If opioids prevent significant suffering, then the solution to the prescription opioid problem cannot simply be to stop using them.
People without ID, like Steven Kemp, are sometimes turned away from the country’s already threadbare system of drug treatment centers.
Matt Rourke/AP Photo
President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. But we need to do a lot more to prevent this crisis from escalating even further.
Ohio is fighting to hold drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
The state of Ohio filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. Will their legal arguments hold up in court – and what will it mean for other cities and states going after big pharma?