The United States accounts for five percent of the world’s population but consumes almost 70 percent of the total global opioid supply, creating an epidemic that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths each year. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? In this personal talk, Travis Rieder recounts the painful, often-hidden struggle of opioid withdrawal and reveals how doctors who are quick to prescribe (and overprescribe) opioids aren’t equipped with the tools to eventually get people off the meds. Travis Rieder, PhD, is the Assistant Director for Education Initiatives, Director of the Master of Bioethics degree program and Research Scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Travis’ work tends to fall into one of two, quite distinct research programs. The first concerns ethical and policy questions about sustainability and planetary limits. Much of this research has been on issues in climate change ethics and procreative ethics with a particular focus on the intersection of the two – that is, on the question of responsible procreation in the era of climate change. The second research program concerns ethical and policy issues surrounding America’s opioid epidemic.

In addition to his more scholarly writing, Travis is firmly committed to doing bioethics with the public. He writes regularly for The Conversation and blogs occasionally at The Huffington Post and the Berman Institute Bioethics Bulletin. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

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