Opiate Use Disorder is claiming lives by the tens of thousands. The Center for Disease Control reported 47,600 deaths in the U.S. involving opioids in 2017, concluding that the opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen with increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In the state of Texas, deaths attributable to opioids rose three times from 1999 to 2015, with increasing impact on maternal mortality and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The University of Texas Medical Branch’s Department of Family Medicine recently submitted a grant proposal to improve education and clinical practice by training and outreach to rural areas hardest hit by this growing scourge. Many of those with the disorder started on prescription medications and then moved onto black market products like heroin, fentanyl, and diverted OxyContin.

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina is the WD and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine at UTMB.

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