The Buzz - A Blog About the Disease of Addiction | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

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Welcome to The Buzz—The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse's online conversation about addiction and substance use.

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We had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Skolnik, an entrepreneur, civil rights activist, storyteller and motivational speaker, to discuss his advocacy efforts regarding alternatives to incarceration for people with addiction. In the past, Michael spent much of his career creating films in prisons, with a focus on juveniles in detention centers across the country. He became interested in addiction after seeing it in his family members. 

As part of our Addiction Speaker Series, in which leading experts present their latest findings, Megan V. Smith, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine and Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Social Sciences at Yale School of Public Health, presented “Addressing Toxic Stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences in Partnership with Mothers." We interviewed Dr. Smith to learn more about her fascinating research.  

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. continues to worsen, with overdose death rates climbing in most states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data reveal that 28,648 deaths were linked to prescription opioids and heroin in 2014. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.3 million adolescents and adults reported non-medical use of prescription opioids.   

As many people across the U.S. continue to struggle with opioid addiction, several lifesaving medicines remain out of reach because of their cost or availability. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Vivitrol – a once-per-month injection that blocks the effects of opioids and reduces cravings. Vivitrol is an injectable form of the medication naltrexone, which is taken orally several times per week, and has been used to treat opioid addiction for over 20 years. 

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