A disease of addiction

By Joey Krecic

Feb. 26, 2018

Cleveland State University tried to unpack the causes, consequences and cures of the opioid epidemic Feb.13, in the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s Moot Court room.

Representatives from the Cleveland Clinic, Northeast Ohio Medical Center, Glenbeigh Hospital, Municipal Court Judge Lauren Moore and Attorney Isabelle Kalinyak, from McDonald Hopkins explored the issues.

According to the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) 32,000 lives were lost in 2015. Since 2011, studies show that the opioid crisis is not going away as a spike in fatalities has hugely increased every year.

According to a study done by Ohio State University in 2015, it was found that one in 10 undergraduates had tried prescription painkillers for non-medical purposes.

Ms. Kristen Schenker, a supervisor at Glenbeigh Hospital, made it clear that the opioid epidemic is just as much a cognitive problem as it is physical.

“Addiction is a self-sustaining market,” Schenker said. “There is a strong psychological pull to drug abuse, and it can be diagnosed as a brain disease.”

The panelists concluded that college students are most susceptible to drug abuse due to the stressors that school may bring. Some experts believe that students do not know the best ways to cope and need to be educated on how to get help before it is too late.

Dr. Crawford Barnett from the Cleveland Clinic addressed the part society plays in the success of opioid abuse reduction. “We must look to find alternative methods to treat pain by fixing the policy that leads to mass over-prescription of drugs,” he said.

Cleveland State University announced in fall 2017, that it will establish The Center for Behavioral Health Sciences, a research center that will bring together various disciplines such as social work, psychology, public health, education and urban policy to create better treatment strategies for current addicts and to prevent further spread of addiction nationally.

The Center for Behavioral Health Sciences will focus on the science of addiction, through primary and applied research, as well as the public policies needed to improve prescription methods.

Heading up as the director for the Center of Behavioral Health Sciences program is social work professor at Cleveland State University Cathleen Lewandowski.

To help establish a plan and goals for the center, Cleveland State has partnered with the St. Vincent Charity Medical Center who has been fighting the long and fatiguing battle against addiction since 1952.

For more information about how to get involved, go to http://www.csuohio.edu/class/behavioralhealth/BehavioralHealthSciences



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A disease of addiction


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