Blog Post
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Health Leader Takes on Opioid Crisis

April 19, 2017

Candy Stockton, MD, a fellow in our 15th cohort of the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program, uses the lessons learned and network of colleagues from our leadership development program to address one of the most urgent issues in health care: the opioid crisis.

Her story, which was featured in the California Health Care Foundation blog, chronicles her move from a middle class area of Southern California to rural and impoverished Shasta County, an area heavily impacted by opioid addiction.

To provide better care for this population, she received her license to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that has been proven highly effective treatment of opioid addiction. This medication attaches to the brain’s opiate receptors, reducing cravings for opiates, but has a “ceiling effect” so it can’t produce a high in the way methadone or other opiates can. This was the same treatment Prince allegedly sought before he died of an opioid overdose.

More than 1,000 people every day are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids, according to CDC data.

In the face of these challenges, Stockton is leveraging the leadership skills and network of the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program to move beyond her role as a physician and emerge as a health care leader. She holds seminars and educational sessions on addiction treatment, and offers individual mentoring to physicians to help them integrate the service into their general practice.

"I think it's important that we step up and try stuff we're not comfortable with," Stockton was quoted as saying on "I have always wanted to fix things, to make things better. I've never liked to watch human suffering of any kind."

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