Dr. Joseph D’Orazio, a medical toxicologist at Temple University Hospital and Temple Trust Clinic, spoke to the class about the role of medicine within the opioid epidemic. He is also board certified in addiction medicine and runs a program that helps people into medication-assisted therapy. He began his presentation on the importance of using the correct language. He noted that the medical field is very ignorant to this, and the use of stigmatizing language largely affects the way patients see themselves, which is significant in treatment.
D’Orazio also went into the medical facts behind addiction. For instance, he talked about where opioids come from and how they could be laced with fentanyl. He also talked about how addiction affects the brain. As someone who’s always been interested in neuroscience, this was the most interesting part to me. He talked about the functions of the frontal lobe and nucleus accumbens and their roles in addiction. He also made a point that things like abnormal dopamine releases, mental health issues, and genetic predispositions could contribute to a persons substance use disorder. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the neurological side to addiction and this could be an interesting topic to write about.
It was kind of refreshing to hear from a medical professional and get their insight. We’ve had conversations with other people in different expertise, which were very eye-opening and helpful. However, talking with a medical professional opened a whole new door.