When it comes to treating opioid addiction, conventional health care, even in a large system, just doesn't cut it. Specialized treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

That's according to a Forbes article on the state of the opioid epidemic, and the disturbing findings of a study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine: If opioid addicts are treated like they are conventional patients in a general health care setting, they're actually 10 times more likely to die in four years than are other types of patients.

With the epidemic far outstripping the capacity of available addiction treatment systems, many opioid addicts end up being treated in conventional facilities such as regular hospitals and clinics, by non-specialists in the area such as primary care physicians. And that isn't working.

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