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Let’s call it what it is.

Opioid prescriptions continue to drop, down 22% from 2013 – 2017. That’s great news indeed…but there are still far too many. The press release from the AMA calls for more Medication-Assisted Therapy, expanded treatment and access to that treatment  – all needed.

One statement in the AMA release really bothers me:

Physicians and other stakeholders accept that bold action is needed. We go where the evidence leads us.


Reality is, too many prescribers went where the marketers led them, rarely asking the right questions, accepting at face-value claims of smiling detailers, mindlessly mis-citing “Porter & Jick” as rationale for ever-escalating doses of opioids.

If the AMA’s statement was true, we never would have had the opioid crisis in the first place. We all know NOW that the “research studies”, “evidence”, and “literature” used to get docs to prescribe mountains of pills was incredibly weak, completely mis-characterized, and/or non-existent.

We all make mistakes…in this case prescribers made a monumental one. If the AMA accepted some level of responsibility for the opioid crisis and spent a lot less time lobbying against mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and quibbling over dosage levels I’d be a little less angry.

I’ve long pilloried many for their role in the opioid crisis, and many readers have as well. It’s long past time the AMA and their fellow travelers acknowledge the harm they caused – and continue to cause – by NOT “going where the evidence leads them.”

Then, and only then, will they will be a credible part of the solution.

What does this mean for you?

Taking responsibility is rarely easy, often painful, and always needed.

4 thoughts on “Let’s call it what it is.”

  1. The AMA supports their membership – the rest is just propaganda:
    The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years. For more information, visit

  2. The AMA advocates for physicians, and cares as much about patients as teachers unions care about students – lip service at best. The bigger the group the less it cares. You’ll be perpetually angry and disappointed until you understand how this works. It’s the same rule for politicians and voters.

    1. Anon — thanks for the comment.

      Rest assured I know how this works – and THAT SHOULD make all of us perpetually angry, because lack of anger indicates acceptance.

      I disagree with your blanket characterization of teachers’ unions – altho that is a red herring.

  3. The medical/pharma model that brought us this crisis is trying to prescribe its way out of addiction by simply substituting one set of drugs for others. It is not sustainable.

    What is essential is that while medications may play a role in recovery following detox, it is peer support programs, such as 12-step approaches, that are the pathways to lifelong sobriety. Money ought to allocated to these non-profit recovery community centers in which tens of thousands of people are finding and maintaining sobriety.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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