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Treatment, Overdose, and Finding the Road to Recovery

Michael T. Flaherty


To address the role of treatment in Pennsylvania’s overdose challenge, certain ideological impediments must be identified and addressed. A separateness of harm reduction from treatment as different approaches, a separateness of public health and public safety as partners in the solution, of public health from private insurance for treating the illness must all be overcome by a prioritized, unified vision. Without this, today’s policies cannot build on the available twenty-­first-­century science in both specialty care and general practice—let alone in our communities. Coupled with societal factors including universal stigma for the illness and those suffering it, these divides have created fertile ground for today’s predictable epidemic. Through collective determination with increased access to described interventions and treatment, including expanded access to medication-­assisted treatments and an enhanced, broadened, skilled interdisciplinary and peer workforce built on a “recovery” philosophy, locally implemented efforts with county, state, and federal leadership can reverse the epidemic.

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