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Questions every reporter need to ask regarding the opioid epidemic.

A reporter I have known called up saying: The drug overdose deaths have exceeded 100,000 and I have covered just about every aspect of the opioid epidemic, where do I go from here? This is the challenge many reporters and writers face.

The field has not made much progress in over 50 years. The stigma for the ‘disease’ remains strongly entrenched and it also extends to the medications like methadone used for the treatment. I posed several questions for him to try to address. Here are a few.

  • Why only three medications to treat the disorder.

  • Why opioid substitution as the only viable treatment, often referred as the gold standard.

  • Why less than 20% of patients impacted by drugs and alcohol receive medical treatment

  • The role of special interest groups in coopting treatment policy

  • The absence of consumer advocacy groups for addictive disorder like ACT- UP for AIDS and NAMI for mental health

Percy Menzies, M. Pharm. is the president of Assisted Recovery Centers of America (ARCA), an integrated treatment center for addictive disorders and mental health based in St Louis. He can be reached at:

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