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 MB (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.
Vivitrol, a non-opioid medication, is used to treat some cases of opioid dependence. Addiction specialists stress that not all patients need medication, but that many do.
AP Photo/Carla K. Carlson
The U.S. has had multiple drug epidemics, and, until recently, has not had evidence-tested ways to help people. That has changed. New medicines can help. But other medical issues should also be addressed.
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.
Paul Wright, in treatment for opioid addiction in June 2017 at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown Ohio, shows a photo of himself from 2015, when he almost died from an overdose.
AP Photo/David Dermer
The number of people dying from opioid overdose continues to rise, in part because of cheap street drugs. Yet the price of a drug used to treat addiction is out of reach for many.
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?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently echoed the 1980s philosophy to 'just say no' to drugs. It's important to remember, however, that the policy was ineffective.
Seized counterfeit hydrocodone tablets.
Drug Enforcement Administration/Handout via Reuters
Counterfeit drugs and heroin laced with illicitly made fentanyl have been linked to overdoses across the country. So what can be done?
High school football players are at high risk for injury.
Media reports have suggested that many young athletes who become injured abuse prescription painkillers and may move to heroin. One of the first studies to look at this suggests otherwise.
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and unidentified woman at a rally in November aiming to destigmatize addiction.
The nation is still in the grip of an opioid addiction epidemic, but there is some good news. Treatment options are expanding, as professionals learn more about the illness.