Treating Addiction

Is medication the best way to treat drug abuse?


An estimated 22 million Americans are dependent on or abusing drugs or alcohol, at huge costs to society. Deaths from overdoses due to heroin and other opioids, including the prescription painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin, are on the rise, with many parts of the country fighting what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called a public health crisis. But the way to stem the crisis isn't clear. Scientists and clinicians differ over what causes addiction, with some calling it a genetic disease and others contending that its roots are psychological or psychosocial. And with differences over the causes come disagreements over the way to treat addiction. The controversial medication buprenorphine is being prescribed to opiate addicts in a bid to reduce the number of deaths. But ...

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