Dr. Peter Grinspoon was a practicing physician when he became addicted to opioids. When he got caught, Grinspoon wasn't allowed access to what's now the standard treatment for addiction — buprenorphine or methadone (in addition to counseling) — precisely because he was a doctor.
/Tony Luong for NPR
For Health Workers Struggling With Addiction, Why Are Treatment Options Limited?
Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of "fiery" or "electrical" pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit.
Barb Williamson runs several sobriety houses in Pennsylvania, commercially run homes where residents support each other in their recovery from opioid addiction. Initially, she says, she saw the use of Suboxone or methadone by residents as "a crutch," and banned them. But evidence the medicines can be helpful changed her mind.
Bea and Doug Duncan outside their home in Natick, Mass. The coaching they got from the Community Reinforcement and Family Training program, they say, gave them tools to help their son Jeff stick to his recovery from drug use. He's 28 now and has been sober for nine years.