Addressing the Opioid Crisis Means Confronting Socioeconomic Disparities

The Accidental Poet

FROM THE BLOG OF DR. NORA VOLKOW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE

October 25, 2017

crowdThe brain adapts and responds to the environments and conditions in which a person lives. When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others, not only because of genetic factors but also because of stress and a host of other environmental and social factors in their lives that have made them more vulnerable.

Opioid addiction is often described as an “equal opportunity” problem that can afflict people from all races and walks of life, but while true enough, this obscures the fact that the opioid crisis has particularly affected some of the poorest regions of the country, such as Appalachia, and that people living in poverty are especially at risk for…

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