Wayne State University scientist leads the charge against opioid addiction
Dr. Greenwald is a professor and associate chair of research in the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and directs its prolific Substance Abuse Research Division. He also serves on the Wayne State University Task Force for Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse, which three years ago proposed curriculum changes that would better prepare health professions students to work with those who have substance use disorders, including more treatment education and tools to address increased challenges in prescribing controlled substances.
Opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine and heroin relieve pain by activating opioid receptors in the brain, and have high abuse potential. Opioid misuse was blamed for 49,000 deaths nationwide in 2017, up from 8,048 in 1999. This prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lower the country’s average life expectancy.
Dr. Greenwald is also mentoring several Wayne State medical students and doctoral students in the Translational Neuroscience Program. They include Tabitha Moses, who is pursuing both a medical degree and a doctorate. Dr. Greenwald was awarded the university’s Jack Ryan Award endowed by the Dr. Morris S. Brent Fund in April to support her research project exploring transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat substance use disorders and pain. Moses is also a student advisor to Detroit vs Addiction, founded by a Wayne State medical student in 2017 to provide future students with an adequate foundation to identify and treat patients with substance use disorders, discuss overdose prevention with patients and recommend resources like naloxone, the synthetic drug that can be administered to reverse opioid overdose.
This article appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business. Read more here.