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Why Can't We Say "No"??

Burchi, Delta
The opioid epidemic is one of the largest problems America has ever faced. Opioid abuse has a significant fiscal and social burden, even though prescription rates have been steadily declining since 2012 (CDC, 2018). With yearly overdoses and deaths on the rise and opioids remaining a necessity in modern medicine, it is critical to have a basic understanding of opioids in order to begin successfully treating/preventing addiction while still effectively managing pain. In a similar fashion, humans as a species are struggling with rising rates of obesity as palatable foods become more accessible and technology continues to simplify once strenuous tasks. With obesity annually costing the United States over one-hundred billion dollars and affecting over one-third of U.S. adults (and rising), researchers and scientists all over the world are scrambling to find a solution to the dilemma. Notably, people struggle to wean themselves off drugs that adversely affect their minds and bodies in a way that is uncannily similar to how difficult it is for people to put down the cookies and spend their money on fresh vegetables. I will outline the mechanisms (currently understood) by which drugs and palatable foods affect the brain and body, their similarities and differences as well as investigate future prevention and treatment options for both maladies. As different as they may seem, studying obesity and drug addiction together may just help us resolve why humans struggle so immensely to just say “no”.
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