The flood of prescription opiates is the result of a deliberate decision by the AMA leadership to promote them as part of the 'pain as the fifth vital sign' campaign in the early 2000s. Up to that point, it was accepted that 'surgery hurts' and 'broken bones hurt'. Now suddenly it was malpractice to have a patient readmitted for pain control and all kinds of administrators got involved if it happened. The mantra recited repetitively was 'no patient in real pain will ever get addicted to opiates from treatment'. I had just moved here from europe where the opiate crisis of the 70s had never ended the way it had in the US. With my perspective of having seen opiate addicts throughout my medical training, that naivite of my US colleagues when it came to opiates was baffling. I came here with the understanding that to get opiates you were either on a surgery floor recovering from a major procedure, or you were in the process of being sent home to die from cancer. To send someone home with a weeks supply of opiates after a tooth extraction seemed lunacy to me. Two weeks ago, I had a molar out. Same thing, well meaning surgeon gave me a script for Norco. The stuff is dirt cheap to boot. I took one when I came home from the procedure and another one at bedtime.