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Mount St. Mary's hosts opioid lecture

The Fredereck News-Post

March 20, 2019


David Brooks gets the hardest substance use disorder cases.

Brooks runs Brooks Behavioral Services LLC, which has offices in Frederick and Thurmont. At his offices, he works to help those with substance use disorder find the root cause of their addiction rather than treat the symptoms, he said in a March 13 lecture about opioids at Mount St. Mary’s University’s Frederick campus.

Brooks, as well as Andrew Huhn, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, spoke about opioids and treatment to a full room, many of them providers. The lecture offered continuing education credits.

Huhn spoke about how doctors prescribed opioids and the rise of dependence on prescription pills.

He cited a 1990 New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece that promoted the safety of opioids with little science. At the same time, he said, attitudes toward pain changed, with more doctors treating pain as something that should not exist. Pain clinics also began to open, Huhn said.

Approximately 10 percent of people who abuse prescription opioids will develop opioid use disorder. Opioids are a gateway to heroin, Huhn said, adding that about 80 percent of heroin users started on prescription opioids.

In the 2000s, the death rate from opioids started to rise, he said. By 2011, it had quadrupled. It continued to increase with the reintroduction of heroin and then fentanyl, in 2016. Now, the majority of heroin is altered by fentanyl or a fentanyl analog, Huhn said.