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.

2021 AMA Overdose Epidemic Report

Sharp reductions in prescription opioid supply, continued increases in PDMP use, but staggering increase in fatalities involving illicit opioids, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine were demonstrated last year. AMA calls on policymakers and others to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder.

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Recommendations

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.

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Awareness

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.

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Data Dashboard

Using accurate, comprehensive data to inform policies and clinical practice is essential to implementing best practices and reversing the nation's overdose and death epidemic.

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Highlights

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.

2021 AMA Overdose Epidemic Report

AMA calls on policymakers and others to remove barriers to evidence-based care for patients with pain and those with a substance use disorder.

Read more >
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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to reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic.