July 7, 2017 – Staving Off


Anchor lead: How can we stem the tide of opioid overdose deaths? Elizabeth Tracey reports

2016 is shaping up to be the year when opioid overdose deaths increased at the fastest rate ever, CDC data seem to indicate, with almost 60,000 peopled dying from heroin and related drugs. Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says researchers are working on ways to help.

Klag: Some of the things faculty at our school are working on which could help would be a point of contact device that somebody could measure a street drug to see if there’s a fentanyl or a fentanyl analog in there, or a safe place to shoot up where people could do it in a safe setting, monitored where the drug could be analyzed there. These kinds of strategies are called harm reduction strategies where people already have a problem and we’re trying to prevent more harm. They’re not very popular in the US. We are a puritan society and we believe that substance abuse is a moral failure. Our policies are centered around that. :32

Klag says a shift in thinking on drug use from a policy perspective is sadly needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.