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Opinion: Long-acting medications for opioid addiction help patients control their future, unreliable selves

Effective medications that stay active in the body for weeks or months can help people addicted to opioids parlay transitory desires to stop using these drugs into lasting recovery from…
A patient takes buprenorphine as part of a medication-assisted therapy program in Imphal, India.

When my patient, Marcus, wakes up shaky, exhausted, and ashamed each morning, he wants to quit using heroin more than anything else in the world. But that’s not the Marcus who is making decisions a few hours later.

Like countless people with addictions I have met in my career as a clinician and researcher, Marcus (not his real name) makes repeated, sincere resolutions to stop his drug use only to have his future self return to it a month, a week, a day, even an hour

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