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Academic Medicine’s Response to the Opioid Crisis

Stemming the Opioid Epidemic

In response to the crisis in their communities and nationwide, AAMC-member institutions are actively working to advance medical research, education, and clinical care that addresses the opioid epidemic.

Medical educators are enhancing existing coursework in pain management and substance abuse in innovative ways. While students are exposed to this material through multiple modalities in medical school, to be maximally effective, such experiences are also being reinforced throughout the continuum of medical education — including in residency training, clinical experiences, and continuing education for practicing physicians.

AAMC-member institutions are also promoting innovations in patient care, conducting cutting-edge research into substance use disorders and pain management, and providing community education programs and events

The Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (H.R. 3414/S. 2892)

This legislation would address the national crisis by ending a freeze in Medicare support and adding 1,000 graduate medical education positions over the next five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

Read a summary of the bill

How Medical Education is Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Medical Education's Active Response to the Opioid Epidemic

Learn more about AAMC's efforts to use medical education to stem the tide of the opioid crisis.

Responding to the Opioid Epidemic Through Medical Education

Here are five things to know about how academic medicine is helping to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Training Future Physicians to Address Opioid Crisis

More than 2 million people abuse opioids, yet only 5,500 physicians are trained in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine.

Medical Schools Confront Opioid Crisis with Greater Focus on Pain, Addiction Education

Medical schools nationwide are strengthening curricula to help students confront the opioid epidemic and care for patients in chronic pain.

A large group of prescription medication bottles sit on a table in front of a distraught man.

The Doctor’s Dilemma

 Academic medicine is evolving to keep pace with public health challenges and meet the needs of patients and communities. Nowhere is this more evident than with the opioid epidemic.
Learn more

Treating Patients with Chronic Pain and/or Substance Use Disorders


Responding to the Crisis: Opioids

Wilson Compton, MD, MPE, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, discusses the response to the opioid epidemic.

A bioethicist’s personal opioid nightmare

After receiving opioids, Travis Rieder, PhD, was shocked to find how little doctors knew about managing them. He shares his journey and how we can spare others.

COVID-19 and the opioid crisis: When a pandemic and an epidemic collide

Over 20 million people in the U.S. have a substance use disorder. During COVID-19, experts see signs of relapses, overdoses, and other worries. What can we do?

What can we learn from an epidemic?

AAMC Executive Vice President Atul Grover says we can use the lessons of the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s to inform our work today around the opioid crisis.

Treating opioid addiction in the emergency department

In a novel approach, ED doctors at several teaching hospitals treat more than overdose symptoms. They start patients on the road to recovery.

Students learn to treat pain, with and without opioids

Medical students are learning different ways to manage patients’ pain. The result? A better understanding of the nature of pain and substance use disorder.

Caring for Babies With Opioid Withdrawal

As more infants display opioid withdrawal, academic medical centers are developing promising new methods to treat these tiny patients and support their mothers.

Teaching Hospitals, Communities are Working to Get to the Root of Substance Use Disorders

Medical schools and teaching hospitals are working to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic and provide treatment options.

Bringing Medical Help to Rural Areas Overwhelmed by Opioid Abuse

Medical schools and teaching hospitals are finding innovative ways to help small-town physicians address the growing opioid crisis in rural areas.