THE PROBLEM >> On October 26, 2017, the President declared the opioid crisis a National Public Health Emergency. The United States comprises 5% of the world's population and consumes more than 80% of the world's opioid painkillers. More Americans have died of accidental prescription overdoses than the number of soldiers the U.S. lost in Europe in World War II.
WHY IT HAPPENED >> Not an accident. Arose from deliberate action of those with a financial interest in expanded prescribing of opioids. Exposed a medical community vulnerable to influence by corporate money and willing to compromise its scientific principles.
WHY IT PERSISTS >> Incentives in the health care industry are poorly suited to stopping this crisis or they would have done so by now. Many are not interested in stopping the crisis if that might result in financial loss or exposure to liability.
WHAT WE CAN DO >> Prescribers can take steps to curb the epidemic now, but a societal response is needed. Should a health care system continue if it can cost so much and still cause so much harm? The opioid crisis is evidence of a system that must be reformed!
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Dr. Chris Johnson is a nationally recognized expert on the opioid and heroin epidemic which currently claims over 25,000 American lives per year. He has spoken throughout the country on this topic to medical and non-medical audiences alike, and brings an urgent message on the need to reform a medical industry that has prioritized business interests over patient safety.
His presentation style engages the listener, whether that person is a medical professional involved in direct patient care, a policy maker exploring ways to improve the health of his or her constituents, or a family member who has been personally affected by loss due to this tragedy.
He has spoken before FDA Advisory Committees, hospital staffs, legal task forces, workers' compensation professionals, law enforcement organizations and patient advocacy groups – everyone with a stake in ending this crisis. His effectiveness at reaching his audience is reflected in the many repeat invitations he receives from these organizations to participate in future events.