In response to President Trump’s declaration on the opioid epidemic, University of Alabama at Birmingham Professor of Preventive Medicine Stefan Kertesz, M.D., is available to discuss the opioid epidemic, how we got here and the Trump Administration’s decision to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. 

HD Video/Audio available for live & taped interviews in the UAB News Studio.

Key arguments:

  • Pharmaceutical companies encouraged excessive prescribing of opioid painkillers, and he supports policies that reduce initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain. However, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Kertesz says the primary challenge for the nation now is to assure adequate access to addiction treatment and the U.S. has made little progress on this issue, especially in rural areas.
  • Kertesz says another issue is that strict federal laws cordon off addiction treatment information from all other aspects of the medical record, and that prohibits health care providers from effectively managing the care of patients who have both addiction and medical problems. 
  • Further aggressive focus on prescription reduction is likely to obtain diminishing returns while creating significant risks for patients.
  • All health care professionals should be required to receive addiction training, since addiction appears in every healthcare environment.
  • The crackdown on pain medication prescribing is intended to help the addiction crisis—but it’s leaving chronic pain patients in untenable situations. 

Kertesz has also made the case through a series of letters, lectures and commentaries appearing in venues from STATNewsNewsweek,Slate and, and his work has been featured on

Kertesz is available today (Oct. 26) from 12:15-1:30 p.m. CST and 4-6 p.m. CST, and Oct. 27 after 1 p.m. CST.