Did Doctors Overtreating With Opioids Cause the Overdose Crisis? A Soho Forum Debate

Doctors Adriane Fugh-Berman and Jeffrey A. Singer debate the harms of prescription opioids.


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Has America's overdose crisis been caused by doctors overtreating patients with opioids?

That was the subject of this month's Soho Forum debate, held at the Sheen Center in downtown Manhattan.

Adriane Fugh-Berman defended the proposition, "America's overdose crisis is the result of doctors overtreating patients with opioids." She's a medical doctor and a professor of pharmacology and physiology at the Georgetown University Medical Center. She argued that the overdose crisis traces back to pharmaceutical companies convincing doctors that opioids were safe and effective, causing rising rates of addiction.

Jeffrey Singer, a surgeon who is also a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, took the negative. He argued that the rate of overdoses and the rate at which doctors prescribe opioids aren't correlated. The real culprit, he said, was drug prohibition.

This debate was moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie; intro edited by John Osterhoudt; event photography by Brett Raney