Volume 108, Issue 2, Pages 195–199
Mishka Terplan, M.D., M.P.H.
Driven by a legitimate but overly opioid-focused response to pain, the United States is currently experiencing an opioid crisis, a crisis with parallels to the first opioid epidemic at the turn of the 20th century. Women, particularly white reproductive-age women, are increasingly the face of the opioid crisis. Given the penetration of opioid misuse and addiction across all income and insurance strata, any provider who cares for women needs to be prepared to assess and evaluate opioid use, misuse, and addiction. Although responsible opioid prescribing is essential, treatment capacity must be expanded and be inclusive of the unique needs of women. However, the public and public health response to the opioid crisis must include rolling back the war on drugs. The continued criminalization of the public health issue of drug use and the medical condition of addiction is unethical, ineffective, and inhumane.