Opiates and Medicine: Where Are We America?

Opiates and Medicine: Where Are We America?

(Presentation date September 23, 2014)


Non-medical use of opiates has been called an “epidemic” by CDC Director Thomas Frieden and “an urgent public health crisis” by US Attorney General Eric H. Holder. Local and national leaders and media headlines echo and highlight this concern. How did we get this way? What can we do? This presentation will provide a historically-based look at the medical use of opiates, especially in American society. It will focus on the development and use of narcotic medications against the background of the three opiate epidemics in America, and will further discuss addiction as a brain disease, issues in the use of opiates to treat chronic pain, and medical treatments for opiate addiction.


The goal of this presentation is to provide a historical overview of the medical use of opiates in America, including issues of concern today.


After completing this program participants will be able to describe one or more aspects of:

  • The history of opiates in medicine.
  • Opiate addiction as a brain disease.
  • Issues in the use of opiates to treat chronic pain.
  • The medical treatment of opiate addiction.


Dr. Jeffrey Berger, MD, FASAM, is a native of the Detroit Area. Following high school graduation, he attended Wayne State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in German language and literature. He studied medicine, also at Wayne State University. Following medical school he completed training in Internal Medicine and is a Board Certified Internist. Early in his career as a physician, he became interested in Addiction Medicine. He began working at Henry Ford Hospital’s Maplegrove Center in 1983, becoming certified by the American Society of Alcoholism and Other Drug Addiction (now the American Society of Addiction Medicine) in 1984. He began working at Brighton Center for Recovery in 1998, and served as the Medical Director until November 2014. Dr. Berger is now the Chief Medical Officer for Guest House, a Michigan-based, lay operated treatment center that has cared exclusively for Catholic clergy and religious suffering from alcohol and other chemically-based addictions.

Number of CE hours offered

1.5 CEH, approved by MCBAP and NAADAC (specific.) A passing grade of 80% on the final exam is required for CE hours to be awarded.