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The War on Recovery

STAT is examining how the U.S. denies lifesaving medications — methadone and buprenorphine — to people with opioid addiction. Barely one-fifth of the roughly 2.5 million Americans with opioid use disorder receive treatment, and tens of thousands of lives have been lost.

People who obtain these medications use illicit drugs at far lower rates and are at far lower risk of overdose or death. Yet nearly every layer of American society — including government, the entertainment industry, the health care system, and even addiction recovery groups like Narcotics Anonymous — has worked either to restrict access to the medications or to sideline them.