Countering the Opioid Crisis Podcast

Friday, October 8, 2021
In this episode, Ruth Katz hosts Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health and co-chair of the NAM’s Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, and Brad Finegood, Strategic Advisor in Public Health in Seattle & King County in Washington State. They discuss the latest overdose statistics from the CDC and what it will take to reverse these trends. In this episode, we will explore the opioid crisis at the local, state, and federal levels to learn what strategies are being utilized to address the deadly trends in different populations. Assistant Secretary Levine offers insight into the federal response, which addresses four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery. Working on the frontlines of the opioid crisis in Seattle, Brad shares his experience building community-based strategies to combat overdoes and the toll that increased drug use has had in the region.

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Thursday, September 30, 2021
In this episode, Ruth Katz hosts Dr. Helena Hansen, professor, and chair of the research theme in translational social science and health equity at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Joy Rucker, the former executive director of the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance, to discuss the role of racism in America’s opioid epidemic. They explore the societal, health, and policy systems that contribute to disparities in care for people of color with opioid use disorder (OUD) and offer solutions to ensure better outcomes for Black and brown communities in the opioid epidemic. Joy breaks down how policy and public perceptions further inequitable systems within the opioid epidemic and the direct consequences those systems have on people of color. Helena offers insight into the two pathways of care divided along racial lines that we see available to those with OUD. One focuses on criminal-justice solutions and the other on public health.

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Thursday, July 1, 2021
In this episode, Ruth Katz hosts health information technology expert Edna Boone and Dr. Charlene Dewey, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to understand the role of stigma in the U.S. opioid epidemic. They dive into how the disease of substance use disorder became stigmatized, the ways in which stigma presents itself in the treatment and recovery journey, and what can be done to move past stigma, so individuals can seek accessible and effective health care without judgment. Edna shares the toll stigma can take on an individual, after seeing first-hand how family members were treated while seeking help for opioid use disorder (OUD). And Charlene offers insight into how the health care community is attempting to reduce the harm caused by stigma in both health education and clinical settings. Listen to learn more about how addressing stigma reduces barriers to treatment and recovery and improves the quality of care for individuals with OUD.

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Monday, June 14, 2021
In this episode, Ruth Katz hosts addiction medicine specialist Dr. Kelly Clark and community paramedic Daniel Sledge to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the response to the opioid epidemic and treatment for individuals with substance use disorders in the United States. They discuss the barriers and opportunities at the individual, first-responder, clinician, and systems level while offering insight into changes in the national response, resources, and tools since the onset of the pandemic. Kelly and Daniel also share their experiences working to support those with opioid use disorder and offer advice on the tools, policies, and multi-sector collaboration needed to combat the U.S. opioid crisis. Listen for more on how treatment providers evaluate the response to the opioid epidemic within the COVID-19 pandemic.

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