Building the Perfect Painkiller

Inside the quest to conquer addictive drugs

Aug 22 · 9 min read
Illustration: Ana Benaroya

By Maia Szalavitz

Opioid addiction can be seen as an infinite loop, a bug in the brain’s programming. Take drug. Feel better. Come down. Repeat.

Of the people who use opioid drugs recreationally, between 8 and 23 percent become addicted — sometimes fatally. That’s true whether the…

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