The Science of Addiction

Research presented by Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at NatCon used brain imaging to dramatically illustrate how addiction changes brain function. Dr. Volkow’s research demonstrates, for example, that the frontal cortex – or reward center – of the brain weakens as a result of alcohol and illicit drug use. Because the tissue no longer functions in the same way, addiction must be considered a disease of the brain, just as heart disease is a disease of the heart. [More]

CMS outlines emerging state strategies to combat opioid abuse

On February 2, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a bulletin highlighting state-based strategies to combat the epidemic of opioid-related drug abuse, overdoses, addiction, avoidable hospitalizations, and deaths. Out of 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2013, 37 percent were associated with prescribed opioid analgesics, such as methadone and oxycodone. Such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2011. CMS cites innovative strategies and exemplary practices that are beginning to achieve results in states such as California, New York, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Vermont. [More]