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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A Path Forward

February 2, 2017

Listen Now: Prescription opioid drugs are useful and humane for those in extreme pain, but they are associated with predictable dependency and withdrawal issues, so physicians who prescribe them need to consider how to stop these drugs as well as start them. That’s one assertion made by Travis Rieder, a bioethicist at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins and author of a recent essay in Health Affairs

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Listen Now: Our Travis Rieder joins host, Sheilah Kast to discuss his travails with prescription opioid use and withdrawal, and implications for ways in which doctors ought to respond to the problem

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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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Doctors Must Do More

January 10, 2017

After his harrowing opioid experience, Hopkins bioethicist Travis Rieder says doctors must do more to help patients through withdrawal

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Swaddled in soft hospital blankets, Lexi is 2 weeks old and weighs 6 pounds. She’s been at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island since she was born, and is experiencing symptoms of opioid withdrawal

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