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Brain studies show that dependence on pain meds is NOT the same thing as addiction; in fact, dependence and addiction show up in entirely different parts of the brain. And chronic pain patients’ lives stand to be derailed by pain, NOT by addiction. So the opioid epidemic raises an ethical question for doctors: how to best meet the needs of chronic pain patients while using potentially addictive medications?

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People used to ask, “Where are the jobs?” Now, in many parts of the country, they’re asking “Where are the job applicants?” The opioid epidemic is knocking employable people out of the workforce, crippling businesses and putting a damper on the economy. One possible solution: opening new drug treatment centers - not just for public health - but also to foster a reliable workforce so employers can keep their doors open for business.

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holiday candle burning

To help the holidays be healthy days, we offer these time-tested tips for those in recovery:

•    Take good care of yourself. The holidays can be extra stressful, so be sure to create time and space for daily relaxation, meditation and mindfulness. Exercise, get some sunshine every day, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.

•    View each day through a lens of gratitude. Write down your blessings each and every day.

•    Spend time with your recovery community. The holidays can be lonely, so reach out to others – for them and for you.

Read more: Top ten holiday survival tips for those in recovery

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John and DeniseThoughts from John Perry, Co-founder, CSRS

Communities across the nation are reeling from prescription pain medication abuse, heroin overdoses, and chronic alcohol abuse that is spiraling out of control. And it’s not getting better:  A recent study showed that older American adults are drinking more alcohol than ever.

We’re all impacted by alcohol or drug misuse or abuse, even if it’s not happening under our own roof. Think about your friend’s child who died from an overdose…. your loved one who is injured by a drunk driver…the neighborhood burglaries fueled by addiction to costly prescription medications. What about our overcrowded prisons and millions of Veterans addicted to pain-numbing medications? Each of these impact us, and – even more acutely –  the parent, child, sibling or friend of each and every statistic.

Read more: What does "It's not me...it's you" mean to our community's health?

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