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A tale of two opioid addicts

There’s no disputing that the opioid crisis has become a public health emergency in the United States. And not a day goes by when health care providers don’t encounter some aspect of this epidemic. Far too often, the mention of addiction spurns images of homelessness, back-alley deals and crime. While that can certainly be the case, addiction is an “equal-opportunity employer.” Allow me to share two true stories that illustrate varying ways opioid addiction is encountered by health care providers. The cyclist “John” was a 40-year-old, athletic, easygoing bicyclist I met after he had been hospitalized with complications of opioid abuse. He had a long history of addiction during...

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