Addiction changes the brain in lasting ways, and some brains are more vulnerable than others

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All it took was one paragraph. In 1980, a pair of doctors published a brief letter in the New England Journal of Medicine. Spanning a total of five sentences, the letter claimed, with little substantial evidence, that the development of addiction was very rare in hospitalized patients who briefly received opioids and had no prior history of addiction

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Can virtual reality really soothe pain? Jo Marchant meets the doctors who say yes, and who hope this is a solution for the country consuming 80 per cent of the world’s opioid supply: the United States of America

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Cardiologists, surgeons and infectious disease doctors can fix the infection, but not the underlying problem of addiction. And when patients who are still addicted to opioids leave the hospital, many keep injecting drugs, often causing repeat infections that are more costly and more challenging to cure

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Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, will remove a key barrier for patients seeking medication to treat opioid addiction. The change will take effect in March and apply to commercial plans, a company spokeswoman confirmed, and will make it the third major insurer to make the switch

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A common belief is that opioid addiction often begins with a single prescription from a doctor: Patients seek relief from some minor problem like a toothache or back pain, leave with a prescription, and wind up hooked. But there’s not much actual evidence tying doctors’ prescription patterns with individual patients’ long-term use of opioids or complications caused by the drugs later on

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Our Travis Rieder discusses challenges with our healthcare system and prescription opioids based on his personal experiences

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A ‘civil war’ over painkillers rips apart the medical community — and leaves patients in fear.

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