Pioneering research to fight addiction in Maryland

Pioneering research to fight addiction in Maryland


MET WITH STRONG SUPPORT FROM FAMILIES THERE. IT’S ALSO ALREADY BEEN USED IN SCHOOL TO SAVE A LIFE. NOW, BALTIMORE HAS BEEN CALLED THE HEROIN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. WE REMEMBER THAT. THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ADDICTED TO THE DRUG. BUT UP HERE, ABOVE THE GROUND, BALTIMORE IS HOME TO ONE OF THE BEST HOSPITALS IN THE WORLD. YES, IT IS. SO IT’S FITTING. SOME OF THE MOST PIONEERING RESEARCH INTO THE DISEASE HAPPENS RIGHT HERE. AS WE CONTINUE OUR SPECIAL COMMUNITY IN CRISIS, CHASING THE HIGH, CHRISTIAN SCHAFFER SITS DOWN FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HEAD OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR SUBSTANCE A BEAUT, TREATMENT — ABUSE, TREATMENT, AND RESEARCH. Reporter: HE’S A PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AT THE JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE. HE’S BEEN STUDYING ADDICTION FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS. WE HEAR ON THE NEWS THAT THINGS ARE GETTING WORSE OR THAT THERE’S MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE ADDICTED TO HEROIN AND OTHER OPIOIDS OUT THERE. IS THAT WHAT YOU SEE AS WELL? I THINK I SEE IT, AND I THINK THAT WHAT THE NATIONAL SURVEYS SUGGEST IS THERE’S MORE PROBLEMS WITH HEROIN AND OTHER OPIATES GOING ON ACROSS OUR COUNTRY. I THINK THERE’S A FEW DIFFERENT REASONS THAT’S OCCURRED. WE’RE COMING OUT OF AN ERA WHERE PRESCRIPTIONS WERE PRESCRIBING MORE OPIOID PAIN MEDICINES FOR PEOPLE AND IF YOU EXPOSE MORE PEOPLE TO THOSE MEDICINES, THOSE WHO MIGHT HAVE A VULNERABILITY TO BECOMING ADDICTED TO THEM DO BECOME ADDICTED TO THEM. SOME OF THEM NOW ARE ALSO STARTING TO MIGRATE OVER TO USING HEROIN. I THINK SOME PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME IMAGINING HOW SOMEONE WHO MAYBE HAD A KNEE SURGERY AND GOT PAINKILLERS WHO GRADUATE UP TO SOMETHING AS DANGEROUS AS HEROIN THAT WE HAVE ALL HEARD THAT IT’S DANGEROUS. WE KNOW THAT IT’S DANGEROUS. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE BUYING IT, SELLING IT, USING IT, INJECTING IT, AND YET, PEOPLE DO IT. WELL, IT’S A GREAT QUESTION. ONE OF THE THINS WE KNOW IS THAT — THINGS WE KNOW IS THERE IS A LOT OF ELEVATOR ABILITY TO HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO PAIN MEDICINE. SOME PEOPLE TAKE THEM AND THEY REALLY DON’T LIKE THE EFFECTS. THEY ACTUALLY AVOID THEM. THEY FIND THEM DIS FORE I CAN AND THEY DON’T FEEL GOOD TO THEM. SOME PEOPLE TAKE ONE AND REPORT EVEN AFTER THE FIRST DOSE, THEY’LL SAY THAT IT GAVE THEM AN INCREDIBLE SENSE OF HIGH OR PLEASURABLE EFFECT. THAT’S PROBABLY SOME GENETIC VULNERABILITY BECAUSE THERE’S EVIDENCE THAT PEOPLE BECOME ADDICTED TO A SUBSTANCE HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY THAT SUGGEST THAT IS RUNS IN THE FAMILY. SO I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS TO BE AWARE OF, IF YOU HAVE VULNERABILITY IN YOUR FAMILY WITH ALCOHOL, NICOTINE, WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE, YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT THE USE OF MEDICINES LIKE PRESCRIPTION OPIATES. Reporter: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY HAS CONCLUDED THAT OVER PRESCRIBING PAINKILLERS POSES SIGNIFICANT RISKS SO DOCTORS ARE BEING MORE CAREFUL. BUT IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE NEEDS AN OPIOID PAINKILLER, HE SAYS YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL, TOO. DID THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY DON’T BECOME ADDICTED, BUT I THINK WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SENSE ADVERTISED TO IS THAT THERE IS THAT RISK THAT SOME PEOPLE WILL AND WE NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THAT AND I THINK FOR THE PERSON WHO’S GETTING IT OR HAS A FAMILY MEMBER GETTING ONE, THEY SHOULD BE ASKING THEMSELVES, DO I SEE SIGNALS THAT THIS PERSON MIGHT BECOME ADDICTED TO THIS MEDICINE? UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE ANDS OF PEOPLE ARE ADDICTED TO THEM — THOUSANDS ARE ADDICTED TO THEM. THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTS THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT. THERE ARE MEDICINES THAT CAN BE HELPFUL FOR THE TREATMENT OF HEROIN ADDICTION. THINGS LIKE METHADONE, FDA APPROVED. THERE ARE AMPLE STUDIES SHOWING THEY CAN BE EFFECTIVE AND SAFE AND USEFUL? Reporter: SOME PEOPLE OR THEIR FAMILIES HAVE ENOUGH WHILE THEY CAN BE HELPFUL, ADDICTS AND THEIR FAMILIES SHOULD CONSIDER IT THE BEGINNING OF A SOLUTION, NOT THE END. CHANGING THE PLACE, GETTING OUT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND INTO A NEW ENVIRONMENT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME TO SORT OF RECALIBRATE PERSPECTIVE CAN BE USEFUL FOR SOME PEOPLE. SO IT CAN HELP, BUT IF SOMEBODY WAS TO THINK, OKAY, I’M GOING TO SEND THEM AWAY TO THIS PLACE, THEY SHOULDN’T JUST EXPECT THEM, OKAY, NOW WE’RE DONE. WE FIXED IT NOW. ABSOLUTELY. THAT’S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THAT’S JUST THE FIRST STEP IN A PROCESS. IT’S A LIFELONG ILLNESS. IT’S SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T GET CURED OVERNIGHT. IT’S NOT SOMETHING THAT’S CURED AFTER 30 DAYS. IT’S SOMETHING THAT’S AN ONGOING STRUGGLE. Reporter: FAMILIES IN CRISIS SHOULD KNOW THERE IS HELP THAT CAN WORK, BUT HE SAYS THEY HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE PERSONA DUCTED TO DRUGS MUST HAVE THEIR OWN MODEVATION AND DESIRE TO BE — MOTIVATION AND DESIRE TO BE HELPED. WE LIVE IN A CULTURE WHERE WE WANT QUICK FIXES TO THINGS. WE WANT TO TAKE AN ANTIBIOTIC FOR A WEEK AND BE DONE WITH IT. WE WANT SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE US FEEL BETTER QUICKLY. PEOPLE WHO REALIZE THAT HAVE A WONDERFUL PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE. THE PEOPLE I’VE KNOWN WHO HAVE STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION AND ARE ABSTAINING OFTEN HAVE A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR THE

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