The Palm Beach County Medical Society (PBCMS) is extremely concerned about the impact that opioid addiction has on the community and subsequently has developed several resources to help educate physicians and patients to help them navigate the growing opioid epidemic. This website contains some of these resources. PBCMS also advocates on behalf of Palm Beach County physicians and patients to ensure that opioid-related legislation takes a common sense, patient centered approach.

What are opioids?

Opioids (oh-pee-oyds) are powerful pain relievers your doctor can prescribe to manage acute and chronic pain. If you misuse opioids or do not take them correctly, they can cause overdose and even death.

How do opioids work?

Opioids block pain signals in the brain. Many opioids are available in short- and long-acting forms. Opioids change the chemistry of the brain and lead to drug tolerance, which means that over time the dose needs to be increased to achieve the same effect. Opioid addiction can cause life-threatening health problems, including the risk of overdose. Overdose occurs when high doses of opioids cause breathing to slow or stop, leading to unconsciousness and death if the overdose is not treated immediately. Both legal and illegal (ie. heroin, carfentanil) opioids carry a risk of overdose if a person takes too much of the drug, or if opioids are combined with other drugs (particularly tranquilizers called benzodiazepines). 

Click here to read the PBCMS Board of Directors Opioid Position Statement   

Interviews with physicians regarding their personal experiences with addiction and recovery.  

Local physician tells his story about his road to recovery. October 2021

Dr. Brent Schillinger and Dr. Abbey Strauss interviewing Dr. Richard Morgan speaking about his personal experiences suffering from opioid use disorder and his subsequent recovery journey.  Dr. R Morgan, My Addiction and Recovery July 2021  

Peter Grinspoon, MD His Addiction and Recovery March 2021 

A Physician Speaks About His Own Addiction and His On-Going Recovery  Sean Fogler, M.D., discusses his history and recovery. Dr. Folger addresses key mental health needs for physicians, professional attributes that can impede recovery, stigma, personal connections, how he maintains recovery, addiction as a disease, etc., all done with sincerity, candor and hope. Jan 2021   

Opioid Videos

Doctors and Opioids Dec 2021

PBCMS Services Opioid Task Force Sept 2021

Opioid Podcasts  

New Releases 

Linda Reihs speaks to her approaches to offsetting the drift of children into later substance abuse. She is an author, educator and addiction counselor. She presents many excellent and thought provoking ideas from an educational perspective, which is quite different than most. This has also been called medical literacy training. Click here to listen. June 2023

Aldo Morales, M.D. practices psychiatry and addiction medicine, speaks with honesty and openness about his concerns with the use of marijuana, particularly in adolescents because of their developing brain and the need to learn social skills. He outlines the criteria for addiction, treatment modalities, the potential overlaps of comorbid psychiatric problems with marijuana use, the absolute need for research, of the need to separate discussions on marijuana that are based on opinion versus solid data. A blunt and grounding yet lively discussion. Click here to listen. June 2023

When it comes to predicting the future direction of the opioid epidemic it largely comes down to government policy. Jeffrey Singer MD, senior fellow at the libertarian leaning CATO Institute shares his well researched position on this serious issue. Click here to listen. June 2023

Addiction psychiatrist Daryl Shorter, M.D., offers functional and pragmatic contexts of addiction, of what leads to successful remission, the key essentials of biological versus psychological origins, and discusses why all substance use is not always abuse. Click here to listen. June 2023

Adolescents suffering with substance use disorder present with a number of unique needs.  With a background in religion, philosophy and psychology, Dr. John Dyben speaks to the critical issues clinicians need to understand when dealing with these young patients. Click here to listen. May 2023

Sarah Kawasaki, MD details mixing buprenorphine and fentanyl. The mere number of fentanyl overdoses, be it knowing or not knowing fentanyl was consumed, requires preparing for possible clinical dangers of too rapidly using buprenorphine. Definite protocols are used and are being studied. Important information. Click here to listen. February 2023

Although overdose deaths are up in most communities, experts agree that a great deal of progress has actually been made in the substance use disorder arena. Drug czar, John Hulick discusses the specifics as they pertain to Palm Beach County. Click here to listen. October 2022 

Might Addiction Not Be A Disease? – Carl Fisher, M.D, psychiatrist at Columbia University, argues that ‘disease’ is the wrong concept as he outlines the urge leading to addictive behaviors, that it oversimplifies, and what is the place of free will, three broad reasons fostering addictions, social mitigators, long term outcomes, and his own recovery from alcoholism. Click here to listen. July 2022

Is it OK to give patients larger quantities of suboxone and methadone without close monitoring? Tara Gomes, epidemiologist in Ontario, Canada, speaks to enlightening research that says this is good clinical practice in stabilized patients suffering from opioid use disorder. The project was partially in response to COVID caused travel restrictions. Her research showed that this strategy reduced barriers and the fears of increased overdoses were unfounded. Click here to listen to the podcast. May 2022

Click here for the newest PBCMS podcast as Emergency Medicine specialist Steven Keehn, DO speaks about the Addiction Stabilization Unit, a 24/7 local emergency room designed specifically to deal with patients suffering from all aspects of substance use disorder. May 2022

One of the bravest, smartest writers anywhere, Maia Szalavitz, speaks about the untold story of harm reduction, a simple idea with enormous power.  Maia's latest book is Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction April 2022

Click here to listen as Elizabeth Evans, PhD is speaking about the reduction of incarceration recidivism following administration of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder in the prison setting. March 2022

On a newly released PBCMS podcast Lori Ann Post, PhD speaks about practicing with a balanced pain management approach in the context of the opioid epidemic. Click here to listen. February 2022 

Lori Ann Post PhD speaks with us about a new JAMA study she authored which reveals that older Americans are the ignored victims of the opioid crisis. Click here to listen. Feb 2022

Luke Elms, MD a general surgeon from Orlando Health, speaking about ERAS which is Enhanced Recovery Around Surgery and the responsible use of opioids and other pain control methods in the perioperative setting. Jan 2022

Hiring Recovering Physicians with Steve Chambers, MD Dec 2021

Buprenorphine in the Perioperative Period with Lynn Kohan MD Nov 2021

The Strategy of High Dose Buprenorphine in the Emergency Room Setting with Andrew Herring, MD Nov 2021

Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy, Special Dilemmas with Kay Roussos Ross, MD June 2021  

Physical Therapist Jeffrey Frankart New Opioid Minimizing Approaches to Pain Management. April 2021  

Drug Use Screening SBIRT with Bertha Madras, MD, Brent Schillinger, MD and Abby Strauss, MD Nov 2020  

Robert Stutman "Opioid use Disorder and COVID-19" June 2020

Opioid Addiction Treatment Resources

Addiction Treatment Center Checklist

Opioid Addiction Treatment:  A Guide for Patients, Families and Friends

What to do if your adult friend or loved one has a problem with drugs

National Institute on Drug Abuse 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Opioid Crisis – Palm Beach County’s Response

Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
A Step-By-Step Guide for Screening and Intervening for Unhealthy Alcohol and Other Drug Use 

Palm Beach County Medical Society/HERC Opioid Task Force presented an Opioid CME Educational Program for Physicians on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Below are presentations from the program.

Collaboration with Pharmacists on Pain Management.pdf Erin Dorval, PharmD

Opioid Use Disorder OUD.pdf Aldo Morales, MD