Reversing the Epidemic

America’s overdose epidemic has been characterized as 4 distinct and interrelated epidemics: prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, and stimulants. Even though physicians have decreased prescribing of opioid analgesics, America’s patients are currently facing a drug overdose – both fatal and non-fatal – epidemic that is fueled by illicit drugs, including counterfeit fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, psychostimulants, heroin, cocaine, and drug combinations.

2023 AMA Overdose Epidemic Report

“This report highlights that the physician community is working on multiple fronts to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with substance use disorders and pain. Progress in reducing deaths, however, has been incredibly difficult due to a combination of factors, including the increasingly dangerous illicit drug supply contaminated with fentanyl and other toxic substances; the continued stigma faced by individuals with a substance use disorder; and the fact that health insurers, year after year, continue dragging their feet and are not stepping up to help patients access evidence-based care. We must all work together to end the epidemic and relieve the suffering experienced by every community in the United States.”
– Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, AMA President

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Improving Access to Care Pregnant & Parenting People with SUD

The American Medical Association and Manatt Health have developed recommendations for policymakers to improve access to care for pregnant and postpartum people with opioid use disorder, focusing several strategies on increasing access to care for justice-involved individuals.

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AMA-Manatt Profiles in Leadership

“The fight to end the nation’s overdose epidemic and restore compassionate care: Profiles in leadership.” Read more how a select group of physicians, policymakers and patient advocates exemplify proven policies and actions that help save lives and improve outcomes for people with substance use disorders, patients with pain, and those who need harm reduction services.

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The nation’s drug-related overdose and death epidemic has changed and worsened. As a result, the AMA has united the Opioid and Pain Care Task Forces in a new, collective effort – the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force – to increase the urgency for evidence-based solutions.



The AMA offers high-quality resources related to the use of data to shift from “response” to “prevention” of overdose, stigma, and educational opportunities for physicians and other medical professionals who seek to stay current and continuously improve the care they provide.


Physician Stories

Physicians demonstrate leadership everyday to help their patients with a substance use disorder–or chronic pain. Learn more about physician leadership to end the e pidemic.



Physicians demonstrate leadership every day in their practice to help patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder. These are a few of their stories.

2023 AMA Overdose Epidemic Report

Opioid prescribing continues downward trend while overdose and death related to illicitly manufactured fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine increase.

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Action needed to help justice-involved individuals who have a substance use disorder

There is no legal, medical or policy reason to deny access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) for justice-involved persons, according to leading medical, legal and health policy experts speaking on recent

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How one Nebraska addiction psychiatrist tirelessly advocates for her patients

When Alena Balasanova, MD, started the addiction psychiatry consultation-liaison service at the University o

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Be part of the solution.

Join the AMA today and help us lead the effort
to reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic.