Introduction

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as powerful pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and many others. Every day in the United States more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for not using prescription opioids as directed. In 2015 more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

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This course challenges preconceptions about addiction and about who can become addicted to opioids. One of our main goals is to reduce the stigma that exists around addiction in general, and help people learn about the multiple pathways to treatment. You will learn about these topics from a variety of medical experts and observe stories from a variety of people who have experienced addiction themselves, or who have seen family members overdose.

What you'll learn:

In this course, you will learn about opioid use and addiction and how it has evolved over time, leading to the current public health crisis in the United States. We will cover all of the following points:

  • Medical and non-medical use of opioids, including heroin and fentanyl
  • How to manage pain with and without opioids
  • The risks and neurological pathways to opioid addiction
  • That addiction is a disease of the brain, not a lack of will, and there are multiple ways people can become addicted to opioids
  • How men and women experience opioid addiction and treatment differently
  • How opioid addiction impacts adolescents and young people
  • The individual and social impacts of opioid addiction
  • The latest harm reduction approaches that law enforcement and public health officials are using to reduce opioid overdose deaths
  • Empathic evidence-based behavioral approaches and effective medications that health care professionals can offer people who have an addiction to opioids
  • How the path to recovery is not always straightforward, but there is life after addiction

Across seven lessons, you will learn about the origins and spread of opioid use, misuse, and addiction. Our experts also cover the appropriate ways in which this class of drugs can be used to treat specific pain conditions. We also explore deeply the impact of opioid misuse on the individual, family, and community. The course includes information about the differences between men and women when it comes to addiction and treatment, as well as the particular risks of opioid addiction in young people. And throughout the course, you will see and hear stories from people who are in recovery and those who have lost family members to overdose. While our course is not intended to serve as medical advice, you will learn about a wide variety of treatment options available to people with addiction.

 

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