There’s a Pill for Everything –
Jan. 30, 2020 – In 2008, when D’Onofrio and Yale collaborator David Fiellin, M.D., director of the Yale Program in Addiction Medicine, received a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study screening and intervention techniques for drug addiction, opioid abuse was just beginning to receive attention as a major public health concern.
Deaths from prescription opioids first spiked across the U.S. in 1999, in line with increased opioid medication sales. A wave of heroin-related deaths followed: from 2002 to 2013, they increased in the U.S. by 286%. Next, the misuse of fentanyl, an opioid 50-100 times stronger than morphine, emerged as a public health concern, leading to over 28,466 U.S. deaths in 2017 alone.
The results of a 2015 D’Onofrio-Fiellin study published in JAMA represented a landmark in addiction treatment. They discovered that when patients admitted to the emergency department for opioid use disorder were initially treated with buprenorphine — an opioid-based drug for pain and addiction treatment — along with subsequent medical management in primary care, they were twice as likely to remain in addiction treatment 30 days later than patients not given buprenorphine.