In Massachusetts last July, several Franklin County Jail inmates were watched by a nurse and a corrections officer after receiving their daily doses of buprenorphine, a drug that helps control opioid cravings. By some estimates, at least half to two-thirds of today's U.S. jail population has a substance use or dependence problem.
Located in Northern Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Superior, Ashland, Wis. has had enough of substance abuse issue. NorthLakes Community Clinic brought in Dr. Mark Lim to start a team providing substance abuse and mental health services.
Derek Montgomery for NPR
In several European countries and Canada, patients with longterm opioid addiction are prescribed pharmaceutical grade heroin which they inject in clinics like the Patrida Medical Clinic in Berlin. Some addiction specialists want to pilot similar programs in the U.S.
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Hospital emergency departments are tasked with saving the lives of people who overdose on opioids. Clinicians and researchers hope that more can be done during the hospital encounter to connect people with treatment.