American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

American Osteopathic Association Joins White House Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA—October 21, 2015—The American Osteopathic Association joined the Obama Administration and a number of public and private sector partners to announce new efforts to address the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic.

The President highlighted these efforts at an event in Charleston, West Virginia today where he heard directly from individuals and families affected by this epidemic and the health care professionals, law enforcement officers, and community leaders working to prevent addiction and respond to its aftermath.  West Virginia has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the U.S., with rates more than double the national average. Over the past five years, nearly 2,900 West Virginia residents have died from heroin and prescription pain killers.

The American Osteopathic Association was represented by Margaret Kotz, DO, director of addiction services at University Hospital in Cleveland and a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Kotz met with the President and discussed the physician-patient relationship as the key to identifying those most vulnerable to prescription drug abuse.

“Education and treatment are mission critical and provide hope for those struggling with addiction. It is necessary for those of us who practice addiction medicine to help all physicians, especially our colleagues on the front lines of primary care, to understand patient vulnerability to opioid misuse and abuse,” Dr. Kotz said.

“Osteopathic physicians are taught to find the root cause of illnesses. That means looking beyond the chart to empathize with patients who have opioid use disorders by understanding the factors impacting  a patient's life,” she added. “That approach is critical to preventing addiction while ensuring patients have responsible access to medications and other therapies they may need and deserve.”

The American Osteopathic Association is committed to advancing President Obama’s tactical goals, which include:

  • Train more than 540,000 health care providers in opioid prescribing over the next two years;

  • Double the number of physicians certified to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, from 30,000 to 60,000 over the next three years;

  • Double the number of providers that prescribe naloxone--a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose;

  • Double the number of health care providers registered with their State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in the next two years; and

  • Reach more than 4 million health care providers with awareness messaging on opioid abuse, appropriate prescribing practices, and actions providers can take to be a part of the solution in the next two years.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 122,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at


Media Contact:
Lauren Brush
(312) 202-8161


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