Overdose Epidemic

Physicians’ progress toward ending the nation’s drug overdose epidemic


This is an executive summary of highlights from the 2023 report on physicians’ actions to help end the nation’s drug-related overdose and death epidemic—and what still needs to be done.

The American Medical Association Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force continues to advance evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and physicians to help end the nation’s drug-related overdose and death epidemic. In recent years we have witnessed positive actions from physicians, growth in harm reduction services, and policy advancements.

Tragically, these positive strides are hindered by a lack of meaningful implementation and enforcement of policies that support affordable, accessible and evidence-backed care for patients with substance use disorders, pain or those needing harm reduction services like naloxone, syringes and fentanyl test strips. Specifically, Black and Brown communities, pregnant individuals, and youth are disproportionately dying at increasing rates compared to other population groups.

We urge all stakeholders to come together to help reverse this national epidemic.

2023 Overdose Epidemic Report

Learn more about AMA efforts to end the nation's overdose epidemic and what still needs to be done.

Learn more about the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force's recommendations to help physicians to take action on evidence-based interventions.

Download the 2023 overdose epidemic report (PDF).

End the Overdose Epidemic

Learn more about what the AMA is doing to combat the overdose epidemic and hear what other physicians are doing to improve and increase access to care.

With an increased number of people reporting worsening mental health in recent years, it is imperative that people are aware of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) telephone program.

People experiencing a suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress can call, chat or text 988, and speak to trained crisis counselors. The national hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The previous National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will continue to be operational and route calls to 988 indefinitely.

Overdose epidemic podcasts & CME

Access expert discussions and insights to help physicians and other health professionals address the epidemic of opioid overdoses.