Writing in JAMA, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, associate dean for public health practice and training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, summarizes his New Year’s wishes for the opioid crisis. “As overdose deaths mount, leading to a decline in US life expectancy 2 years in a row, my New Year’s wish is for more people to appreciate this statement: Not all well-intentioned approaches to addressing the opioid epidemic are good ideas. Some are based on evidence and experience, others on misunderstanding, blame, fear, or frustration. What’s needed in 2018 is the wisdom—and the courage—to tell the difference.”
He discusses four aspects of the crisis — addiction treatment, criminal justice, health care system and looking to evidence — and discusses examples of approaches that work.