After 40 years in medicine, here’s what a Maine addiction expert has learned about alcohol, opioids and public health

When The New York Times, the Washington Post and news agencies across Maine have needed to understand the opioid epidemic and the policies emerging in response to it, they have often turned to a specialist in addiction medicine working in Portland, Dr. Mark Publicker. Unafraid to criticize redundant task forces and barriers to treatment, his advocacy led to better policy and saved lives, said those who learned of his impending retirement online.

As the pandemic complicates the more hidden challenge of addiction, Publicker, 70, will retire from his private practice at the end of the year, after 40 years in medicine. He recently spoke about his career and the changing upheavals of the opioid crisis. Today, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.

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