UofSC faculty experts list on the opioid epidemic

The United States is battling an opioid epidemic. Americans now consume most of the world’s supply of opioids, with drug overdose being the leading cause of death for Americans under age 50. To help journalists to report on this public health crisis, the University of South Carolina has compiled a list of faculty experts. To arrange an interview, contact the staff member listed with the entry.

Affordable Care Act and opioid addiction

Social work professor Christina Andrews is a researcher in a five-year study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that examines the impact that the Affordable Care Act has had on the quality and accessibility of substance abuse treatments. She co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in March that outlines the detrimental results that ACA repeal would have on people battling opioid and other addictions. 

News contact: John Brunelli, brunelli@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3697.

Generational impact of opioid exposure

Jill Turner, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy, is a neuroscientist who explores how opioids affect the brain. She has conducted research that found children whose mothers took opioids before pregnancy have greater aversion to the drugs and are less likely to relapse if they become addicts, bucking the conventional thinking that children of addicts are more likely to become addicts themselves. Her research, based on animal models, demonstrated that preconception opioid exposure in rats caused changes in gene expression patterns that lasted for two generations.

News contact: John Brunelli at brunelli@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-3697.  

Opioid use among cancer patients

Zaina Qureshi, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management of the Arnold School of Public Health and an adjunct with the College of Pharmacy, is a specialist in personalized healthcare delivery and the role of prescription drugs in the treatment of cancer. Her research examines prescription drug abuse, predominantly opioid abuse, among cancer patients and can discuss abuse rates nationally. She is working to identify ways to intervene or disrupt the opioid epidemic based on patterns of abuse.   

News contact: John Brunelli at brunelli@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-3697. 

Impact of opioid crisis on U.S. foster care 

Michelle Dhunjishah, director of the Children’s Law Center in the university’s School of Law, is an expert on law and policy related to children’s safety and well-being. She can discuss the rising numbers of children in the U.S. foster care system as a result of the opioid epidemic. Dhunjishah says the trend represents the next greatest threat in keeping children safe in the U.S. and will need to be addressed at all levels, from policy makers down to community members.

News contact: Peggy Binette at peggy@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-7704. 

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