Council on Science & Public Health

About the Council on Science & Public Health (CSAPH)


The Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) works to represent the AMA's core belief that scientific evidence is the basis for improving the quality of patient care, promoting medical progress and enhancing the health of the public.

Our main functions are:

  • To advise the AMA on developments in medicine and biomedical research that warrant public attention
  • To advise the AMA on professional and public information activities involving scientific medicine they should undertake
  • To assist in preparing policy positions on scientific issues raised by the public media
  • To advise on policy positions related to government support or involvement in biomedical research
  • To advise on opportunities to coordinate with the scientific activities of national medical specialty societies, voluntary health agencies, other professional organizations and governmental agencies
  • To consider and evaluate the benefits of developing collaborative domestic and international programs on scientific affairs
  • To propose and evaluate scientific projects for the AMA to undertake individually or jointly with state and local medical societies

Emerging drugs of abuse are a public health threat

Emerging drugs of abuse are a public health threat (PDF)

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are quickly emerging, transient, and difficult to track. The rate of NPS development and emergence is dramatically outpacing our ability to identify and regulate the compounds. Furthermore, drug overdose deaths in the United States involving synthetic opioid drugs such as fentanyl and carfentanil have more than doubled between 2010 and 2015 and are expected to continue increasing. Physicians, public health officials, law enforcement, first responders and forensic laboratories all need to collaborate to decrease morbidity and mortality related to emerging drugs of abuse.

This report provides an overview of:

  • Current regulation of NPS
  • Pharmacological and clinical effects of six broad categories of NPS:synthetic opioids, synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants, hallucinogens (psychedelics and dissociatives), CNS depressants and others
  • NPS treatment challenges
  • Public health approaches successfully implemented to address outbreaks of NPS overdoses, including surveillance and fusion centers

Read the full council report or find additional information by visiting the AMA end the opioid epidemic website.

Meet the members of the Council, read the Council's current report, or go to the AMA Archives for older council reports.

Stay up to date with the issues in health care that matter most to patients and physicians by signing up for AMA Morning Rounds.

Contact the Council on Science and Public Health with questions or comments.

Andrea Garcia, Secretary to the Council on Science and Public Health

(312) 464-4548  or [email protected]

Alexandra Lumakovska, Council Coordinator

(312) 464-5046 or [email protected]