The National Drug Early Warning System, or NDEWS is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and provides insights to the drug trends the United States is seeing. One interesting emerging trend mentioned was that the opioid crisis is now about synthetics and polydrug use. Robert DuPont, MD explains how the opioid epidemic needs a new narrative. He particularly is worried about the problem of polydrug use and the menace posed by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. “The average number of additional drugs was two to four, with as many as 11 at the time of death.” When asked about what we should do about the emerging epidemic, DuPont states that we must define the drug epidemic as not just opioids, and see it as a global problem. “The US needs to collaborate with other nations in the world that are dealing with it. There is nothing unique about America in terms of vulnerability to drugs.”
Dupont also goes into the importance of incorporating treatment into the healthcare system. “The primary care physician needs to identify people who are addicted and manage that disorder like any other medical disorder. And that means testing to see whether the patients are using, just like the physicians would test for blood pressure or diabetes.” He also stressed the need for community support, and consistent monitoring. “The drug free programs need to offer medications as options. At the same time, medication assisted treatments need to integrate Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and other community support into their programs.” Overall, he stresses the fact we need to end the war between treatment modalities and focus on prevention and sustainable recovery.
Full interview with Robert DuPont, M.D : https://www.ndasa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/The-Opioid-Crisis-is-Now-About-Synthetics-and-Polydrug-Use-Opioid-Watc….pdf
Link to National Drug Early Warning System: