Author Archives: iretablog

benzo podium sign use

Infographic: Benzodiazepine Use and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Patient education about benzodiazepines is key Here at IRETA, we’ve been thinking about patient safety in medication-assisted treatment for a number of years, and have more recently zeroed in on the issue of benzodiazepine use among methadone and buprenorphine patients. We’ve heard from providers that their patients need educational materials about benzodiazepine use, so we put together […]


Updates on a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in Pennsylvania

Tracking progress on our home state’s efforts to modernize our PDMP Editor’s note: As information related to PA’s PDMP becomes available, we are sharing it on the IRETA Blog.  This post will be updated frequently.  Feel free to email relevant news and information to   Recent news Prescription drug registry would help cut deaths […]

in front of the methadone clinic 1.  Credit: D.C. Atty

Study finds methadone clinics don’t increase crime in Baltimore neighborhoods

Methadone is a federally-regulated medication that, by law, is dispensed only by licensed treatment settings when used to treat opioid addiction. It has been studied exhaustively and many of its benefits are undisputed in the research literature.  The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reports that the benefits of methadone maintenance therapy include: reduced or stopped use […]


Dr. Westley Clark on Overdose

Prevention of prescription drug abuse can start with education about the risk of overdose death On January 16, the ATTC Network hosted a free webinar, “SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit & Prescription Drug Abuse,” led by the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA, Dr. H. Westley Clark. In addition to an […]

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SLAM is a Recovery High School in the Making

Advocacy continues for a high school in New York City that specifically supports abstinence Sobriety, Learning And Motivation: that’s what actor Kristen Johnston’s (3rd Rock from the Sun, The Exes) and Thom Krauss’s planned recovery high school, SLAM, stands for. In line with the 23 accredited recovery schools throughout the country, SLAM’s founders visualize an environment […]

The Beauty of Pregnancy, by Jelle Druyts

We know a lot about treating pregnant opioid users and we’re still losing ground

Lack of screening, access and coordinated care hinder the implementation of effective treatment The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that in 2011-2012, approximately 5.9% of pregnant women reported using an illicit drug in the past 30 days, up from 3.7% in 2001.  While marijuana use accounts for a large proportion of those women, opioid […]

seasons greetings

IRETA’s Year in Review, 2013

Happy Holidays from all of us at IRETA! “Best Of” lists proliferate this time of year–and we’re jumping wholeheartedly onto the bandwagon.  Here, from our staff, are some of the best IRETA moments of 2013. Peter F. Luongo, PhD, Executive Director “I had a great time working with Pew Charitable Trusts and the Pennsylvania Department of […]


Women have been particularly affected by the War on Drugs

Orange is the New Black and the disproportionate impact of drug policy on women Part of IRETA’s ongoing series on substance use and criminal justice The wildly popular Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black has garnered an enthusiastic following for its frank portrayal of female inmates in a federal prison: their raunchy wit, […]

Peter Luongo 2013

A Message from the Executive Director

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. How do you know when you are doing your life’s work well? Is there a standard? How is it set? How is performance […]


I asked him to tell me his story

A medical student muses on humility, the art of medicine, and the importance of eye contact There, in the fluorescent-lit cafeteria of the Salvation Army, I felt mildly nervous, but I smiled nonetheless. This is part of the life of a medical student, projecting confidence despite a lack thereof. By the time we visited the […]


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