July 23, 2019 | 68° F

New workshops at Rutgers take multidisciplinary approach to solve opioid crisis

Photo by Air Force Medical Service |

The first workshop held by Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences focused on pain management and addiction, managing addictions in special populations and training the workforce. It also discussed new clinical and educational initiatives. 

Researchers in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) will be forming a new series of workshops to address the opioid epidemic that kills approximately 3,000 people in New Jersey every year, according to Rutgers Today

“Opioid abuse is an epidemic and a public health crisis, and both its economic and social cost make it a priority for us,” RBHS Chancellor Brian L. Strom said.

The workshops will discuss novel research, as well as clinical and educational initiatives at the University that can help address the major health crisis, according to the article. 

The first workshop addressed pain management and addiction, managing addiction in special populations and workforce training. Workers should be prepared to aid in patients’ prevention, early intervention and recovery, the article stated. 

“While the rest of the nation is plateauing or declining, New Jersey is among the few places where the numbers continue to go up with 3,000 projected deaths from opioid overdoses in this year,” said Kathleen Scotto, RBHS vice chancellor for Research and Research Training.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released statistics that stated drug overdoses reached a new high in 2017, killing more than 70,000 Americans nationwide, according to the article. 

This is strongly related to the increased usage of synthetic opioids know as fentanyl, CDC officials said at the time of the statistics’ release. 

This is why the multidisciplinary approach is necessary to solve health issues, Scotto said. She highlighted workshops like the ones now run by RBHS, as they bring together experts across many fields to work on solutions.

“The working group made some recommendations that can be acted upon immediately,” Scotto said. “We look to continue this conversation within Rutgers and with our hospital and state partners, so we can approach this crisis from new angles and make a positive impact in our state and beyond.” 

Brendan Brightman

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