Stemming the tide of overdose death may require a rebuild of how we think about the problem, Elizabeth Tracey reports


1.2 million deaths. No, that’s not due to Covid-19, but is the projection of a recent Lancet study on drug overdoses in North America by 2029 if current practices remain in place, including those intending to help. Substance use disorders expert Eric Strain at Johns Hopkins says we need a new approach.

Strain: Rather than thinking that we’re going to figure out a way to prevent people from creating drugs, rather than thinking all we’ve got to do is have those poppy growers change to growing soybeans we now need to recognize the fact that drugs are going to be available, what do we do to prevent people from using them? And to ensure that we’ve got optimal treatments if somebody does become used to using them.  :28

Strain is hopeful that changing perceptions can take place, noting the fact that most people in the field now view substance abuse as a health issue rather than a moral failing. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.