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By shunning medication-assisted therapy, 12-step meetings are making the opioid crisis worse

By shunning people who use medication-assisted therapy to kick opioid addictions, 12-step programs are making the opioid epidemic worse.

Three years ago, I checked myself out of a Colorado detox center against medical advice. I had nowhere to go but the broken-down van in which I’d been sleeping with my husband, but I was in the worst part of heroin withdrawal and all I could think about was ending the pain.

On my way out, the resident peer support specialist made one last attempt to stop me.

“The only way you can get sober is by working the steps,” he said, referring to the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous.

I told him I was going to try instead. In response, he predicted that I was destined to be a “lifer” — someone who bounces between street drugs, prescribed

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