School of public health

School Notes: School of Public Health
March/April 2024

Megan L. Ranney |

Trauma specialist named activist in residence

Nelba Márquez-Greene, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in grief, loss, trauma, and their impact on individuals and systems, is the Yale School of Public Health’s new activist in residence. Márquez-Greene’s appointment is part of Dean Megan L. Ranney’s vision for growing firearm injury-prevention research, interventions, training, and communication at YSPH. 

Márquez-Greene’s daughter, Ana Grace, 6, was one of 20 students and six administrators and teachers who were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. 

Treating opioid disorder without meds more harmful than no treatment at all

A study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds that in cases of opioid use disorder, short-term medically managed withdrawal (commonly known as detox) and long-term rehabilitation treatments that don’t incorporate continued use of buprenorphine or methadone are no more effective at preventing overdose deaths than no treatment at all. The study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“Non-medication-based treatments increased the risk of death compared to no treatment by over 77 percent,” said YSPH professor Robert Heimer ’88PhD, the study’s lead author. “There are plenty of studies that show medication-based treatment is better than abstinence-based treatment. Now we can also say patients are no better off getting abstinence-based treatment compared to no treatment at all.”

One reason abstinence-based treatment might lead to more fatal overdoses, Heimer said, is because when people stop using opioids throughout those treatment programs, they lose their tolerance to opioids. If they relapse, their lower tolerance makes them more susceptible to overdose.    

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