November 12, 2018 – Drug Overdoses


Anchor lead: Opioids are just the latest in a long trend of escalating drug overdoses, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Everyone knows opioids, including prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl are the culprits when it comes to drug overdoses, right? Not so fast, a recent paper in the journal Science points out. Turns out drug overdoses have been rising exponentially since 1979. Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Strain: We don’t have an opiate use disorder problem, we have a substance use disorder problem, and we play whack a mole addressing one category of substances and take our eyes off the ball with other categories, which inevitably then resurge.  :15

Strain notes that such data are very important in stemming the tide.

Strain: There’s this overall trend and then you can start to parse out what are the factors behind that? By geographical region, by drug class, by age, by race, by urban versus suburban, versus rural, and we need to start looking at the data in that kind of granular way.  :17

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.