Drug overdoses now kill more Americans annually than guns, cars, or breast cancer. Yet despite this, our understanding of addiction is stuck with ideas from a bygone era. My next guest has explored new ways to understand addiction from viewing it as a learning disorder, as she did in her groundbreaking book Unbroken Brain, to the idea of harm reduction, which will be central to her new book coming out next year titled Undoing Drugs. She is Author and Neuroscience Journalist Maia Szalavitz, who’s with us now.
The National Council for Behavioral Health is a unifying voice of America’s healthcare organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Both have been under severe stress since the COVID-19 pandemic and face difficult times ahead. And to learn more about these challenges, it’s a pleasure to have with us Chuck Ingoglia, the President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Harry Nelson is one of the leading healthcare legal experts in the country addressing the worsening problems on how we treat pain and addiction. In his recent book, The United States of Opioids: A Prescription for Liberating a Nation in Pain, he tells us how we got here and what we need to do as a nation to successfully address this ever-growing problem, which is only likely to be exacerbated some by the current pandemic, and he’s with us now to discuss it.
There are many challenges that currently face this country. Gun violence is certainly at the top of everyone’s mind, but so, too, is drug addiction and the opioid crisis. Over 120 people die each and every day from an opioid overdose. An organization that is on a mission to transform how this nation addresses this crisis is the Center on Addiction, and it’s a pleasure to have with us tonight their President, Fred Muench.