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“I’m sick of going to funerals.”

If you ask Jordan Hansen why he changed his mind on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, this is the bottom line.

Several years ago, Hansen was against the form of treatment. If asked back then what he thought about it, he would have told you that it’s ineffective — and even harmful — for drug users. Like other critics, to Hansen, medication-assisted treatment was nothing more than substituting one drug (say, heroin) with another (methadone).

Today, not only does Hansen think this form of treatment is effective, but he readily argues — as the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows — that it’s the best form of treatment for opioid addiction. He believes this so strongly, in fact, that he now often leads training sessions for medication-assisted treatment across the country.

“It almost hurts to say it out loud now, but it’s the truth,” Hansen told me, describing his previous beliefs. “I was kind of absorbing the collective fear and ignorance from the culture at large within the recovery community.”

There’s a highly successful treatment for opioid addiction. But stigma is holding it back.

Medication-assisted treatment is often called the gold standard of addiction care. But much of the country has resisted it.


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