By Chris Adams

Even as the opioid epidemic sweeps through rural areas and big cities, the search use of the most effective treatments remains elusive.

Dr. Marc Fishman, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director of a treatment center, led National Press Foundation journalists through an overview of treatment that is used – and what should be used.

Among the biggest challenges is persuasion. Experts who know what works, he said, still need to persuade patients, the criminal justice system, insurers and even the recovery community about the best treatment methods.

“We’ve got tools,” he said. “The problem is we haven’t learned how to deploy them.”

He gave a tour of the range of care options, including inpatient detoxification and stabilization; short- and long-term residential treatment; day treatment and inpatient hospitalization; and assisted-living or outpatient options.

He pointed journalists to resources, including:

  • A recent New England Journal of Medicine study he co-authored that documented how the use of extended-release naltrexone among adult criminal justice offenders was associated with lower relapse rates than usual treatment options.
  • A recent Substance Abuse study he co-authored about the use of community treatment options to prevent relapses in young adults.