Ending the Opioid Epidemic by Changing the Culture

Psychiatr Q. 2018 Dec;89(4):891-895. doi: 10.1007/s11126-018-9589-0.


The opioid epidemic continues to take thousands of lives each year in the United States, more than motor vehicle accidents and suicides combined. Real solutions, based on science, will require a culture shift in the way that we think about and respond to substance use disorders, in the healthcare system and in our communities. Just more of the same approach will not turn the tide. This article discusses how to better understand the use of psychoactive drugs and how prevention, treatment and policy change can disseminate evidence-based practices, fight stigma, and advance harm reduction; not only as strategies to improve outcomes, but as a social justice movement as well.

Keywords: Addiction; Policy change; Prevention; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Jurisprudence*
  • Patient Advocacy*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*