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First Opioid Court in US Focuses on Keeping Users Alive

An experimental opioid crisis intervention court in Buffalo, New York, appears to be helping opioid-addicted people address their problem and stay alive, according to NBC News. Instead of once a week, users check in with a judge every day for a month. They also get treatment within hours of their arrest. The court is funded with a three-year grant.

Opioid addiction is at an all-time high in the U.S. — in part because drug companies promoted opioids as non-addictive when the opposite was true. Buffalo’s novel drug court, along with limiting the availability of opioids and making overdose-reversal drugs and treatment for drug addiction more readily available are part of the answer. But it's not enough.

We have to take a much deeper look at the root of the problem. Somehow, we need to refocus our efforts to create lives worth living, along with ways to deal with pain without prescription drugs. We also need to improve access to and information about basic disease prevention, which begins with diet and basic lifestyle choices — the kind of information I've focused on with my newsletter and website.

Anyone can get addicted to opioids, so it’s important to recognize if opioids have become a problem in your life before it’s too late. If you work, consider finding out if your workplace offers an employee assistance program that you can access. With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. For a long list of alternative pain treatments, please see my article, "New Treatment Guidelines for Back Pain Stress Non-Drug Interventions."
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