MHDG Medical Director Dr. Edwin Chapman, MHDG CEO Audrey Whetsell, and MHDG Chief Engagement Officer Larry Gourdine spoke about treatment innovations in opioid use disorder in urban settings at the Office of Minority Health Director's Meeting on October 16, 2018... and the next day, Dr. Chapman presented with Professor Melissa McCarthy at the George Washington University School of Public Health.
Here's a short summary of some of Dr. Chapman's thoughts on the opioid epidemic...
A PHILOSOPHICAL VIEW OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC | Cancer vs. tuberculosis
Perhaps one should take a high level view of the current opioid epidemic and substitute “cancer” or “tuberculosis” for opioid. There is no worse state of being as a human than to be addicted to any opioid (cancer vs. tuberculosis) ... and to be concurrently uninsured, unemployed, and homeless. That said, EVERY American should immediately see why such an anonymous individual impacts ALL of America either directly or indirectly, if tuberculosis is the model, from:
A public health viewpoint (infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C)
A public safety perspective (child and family welfare, blood and organ transplant supply, etc.)
An economic standpoint (employability)... while under the cancer model only ONE individual is impacted at a any given time with limited peripheral consequences!
In the pre-antibiotic era of medicine, tuberculosis patients were routinely sent to “treatment sanitariums” with the highest level of available humane support. In my view, opioid addiction treatment should parallel the tuberculosis model with universal access to comprehensive insurance, immediate access to appropriate medication for addiction, mental, and physical co-morbidities, and expedited access to safe housing.
The current reversal of fortune from Obamacare (intent for universal insurance coverage) to Trumpcare (coverage based on meritorious screening) and Holdercare (medical treatment for non-violent offenders) to Sessionscare (mass incarceration for addiction treatment) may go down as the worse public health fiasco in modern history, placing the highest-risk patients in the highest-risk environment in which to fuel their disease!
The US prison system is statistically the absolute worse place for an untreated opioid dependent individual to contract or spread an infectious disease inside and back to the community, as well as their unintended need to recycle drug seeking activities back into the community.
The current opioid epidemic is living proof that: "no man is an island" and "we are all in the same boat."