The Social Life of Opioids

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From Scientific American: Increasing prescription rates of opioid painkillers are often blamed for America’s current opioid crisis. However, a growing body of research suggests that opioid use is connected with social losses and emotional pain; we need to understand the issue of social isolation in order to fully address the opioid epidemic.

“…recognizing the connections between bonding, stress and pain could be critical to effectively addressing the opioid crisis. ‘Understanding the biology and commonalities between trusting social relationships and the opioid system can change the way we think about treatment,’ Young says, noting that neither the punitive approach of the criminal justice system nor harsh treatment tactics are likely to increase connectedness. In essence, if we want to have less opioid use, we may have to figure out how to have more love.”

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