Statement attributable to:
Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA
President-elect, chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force
American Medical Association

“The new Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids is a powerful document that emphasizes the need for evidence-based approaches to end the opioid epidemic. The AMA agrees with Secretary Azar, Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz, Surgeon General Adams and Admiral Giroir that we must all work together to end this national epidemic.

“The AMA supports the report’s emphasis on early detection and evidence-based interventions such as medication-assisted treatment and communitywide support services.  We share the  concern that only about 12 percent of adults who need treatment for a substance use disorder receive treatment.

“Importantly, the report also recognizes other evidence-based approaches, including harm-reduction strategies such as naloxone availability and needle and syringe exchange programs. The AMA also agrees that there is a great need to recognize that having a substance use disorder ‘requires medical intervention, not moral judgment.’

“Moving forward, we need to narrow the gap between the number of people who need treatment and the resources available for substance use disorders; we need to remove arbitrary limits on coverage and barriers to care. We will continue to work to help end the stigma associated with having a substance use disorder and to ensure our patients receive the care they deserve.

“We stand ready to work with the Administration to reach these important goals.”

Media Contact:

Jack Deutsch

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.