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Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Entries by Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Our National Night of Conversation

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 3:34 PM

Join Dr. Oz's #NightOfConversation livestream here at 5:30.


I am asking every family to have a conversation at their dinner table. This conversation could save lives. Lately I've been speaking to people who are asking for help with another problem that many are too embarrassed, or ashamed, to discuss. This public health crisis now kills more Americans than guns, falls, or even car accidents. The odds are that you know someone dealing with this problem right now and you know even more people who are at risk. It has a genetic component, so a family history increases the risk even more. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm talking about drug addiction and overdose.

About 27 million people in this country use illegal drugs or prescription drugs for non-medical purposes and the CDC has said we are in the midst of an overdose epidemic. For many, the addiction starts with prescription painkillers and when a physician no longer refills an opioid prescription, illegal drugs become an unintentional and deadly alternative. In fact research suggests that four out of five heroin users started with prescription drugs.

You might be surprised to learn that most addictions start at a young age. In fact nine out of 10 people with substance use problems started using by age 18. Healthcorps, a non-profit organization I founded with my wife Lisa that teaches kids to live healthier lives, recently conducted a survey of about 200 high school students from around the country on their attitudes about drugs and alcohol. What we found is suggestive of some of the root causes of our current drug crisis. Two-third of students either didn't think or didn't know that prescription drugs could be as addictive as illegal drugs. Most surprisingly, while over 80 percent of the students thought heroin was addictive, only about half of students thought Vicodin was, which was the same percentage of students who said soda was addictive!

Like the obesity epidemic, solving our drug addiction problem is not going to be easy and going to take a multifaceted approach of public and private interventions to change policy and the environment. President Obama announced some of the first steps during his recent visit to West Virginia, one of the hardest states hit by opioid addiction. The president started a conversation that we all must now continue. Simply discussing drugs with your family is one step everyone can take right now that can truly make a big difference and help prevent this problem from continuing to grow. Research from the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, shows that when parents are engaged in their kids' lives, especially through archetypes like family dinners, kids are less likely to develop unhealthy relationships with alcohol and other substances. Studies also show that kids who learn about the risks of alcohol and other drugs are 50 percent less likely to use drugs and alcohol.

In our survey of Healthcorps students, we were pleased to see that over 80 percent of kids had talked about alcohol and illegal drugs with their families, but only about half had talked about the dangers of addictive prescription drugs.

It's time we all realized that prescription drugs are just as dangerous as illegal drugs and discussed all drugs (illegal, prescription, and alcohol) with our families. I'm going to sit down to dinner with mine this Thursday during the National Night of Conversation and do just this. I'm sure whatever Lisa has planned for dinner will be delicious, but on this night the conversation will be more important than the meal (sorry Lisa). I hope you will all join me as well and post a picture of an empty plate on social media with #NightOfConversation to show that you too have chosen to combat this crisis and end the silence and save lives.


Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National...

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We Must Bridge the Gap Between Suffering and Salvation

(11) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 11:52 AM

The storm blared onto the news on Thursday with the fury of a thousands suns. All hell was breaking loose, and the East Coast was starting to panic as Hurricane Joaquin tore through the Bahamas. But by Sunday I was looking out on a crowd of thousands peacefully singing their...

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People in Recovery From Addiction Need Support and Should Be Celebrated

(22) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 5:44 PM

As I leaned in to smile for the picture that was being taken, I asked the young woman holding her cell phone what the occasion was. "I'm 10 years clean and sober today!" she said with joy and pride. Her husband and children stood by watching. This was a profound...

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Inside the Healthy Mind

(2) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 4:12 PM

By David Satcher M.D. and Mehmet Oz M.D.

Pixar recently released an intriguing new movie this week that playfully follows an adolescent and her parents through the lens of their five personified emotions -- fear, anger, joy sadness, disgust. The title Inside Out tells the whole story since this is...

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The Silver Lining of Mental Illness

(407) Comments | Posted January 21, 2013 | 6:35 PM

When I attended the candlelight vigil memorializing the shooting victims of the Newtown Massacre, I talked with people in the community who kept trying to understand the complex machinations in a sick mind that commits such a senseless act. The Newtown shooting created a new sense of urgency to understand...

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The HPV and Cancer Stats You Can't Afford to Ignore

(198) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 1:05 PM

While preparing for tomorrow's show on HPV, I came across some shocking statistics. Perhaps most shocking of all was this: 75-80 percent of sexually-active adults will have been infected with HPV before the age of 50. Why is this important? Because HPV can potentially put you at risk...

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Transforming Health Care: A Growing Movement Is Happening In Your Hometown

(79) Comments | Posted September 12, 2011 | 10:13 AM

There is a reason the rich and famous from around the globe travel to the United States when they need critical care. They come here because we have the best doctors, nurses, researchers and hospitals in the world. Bar none.

But there is a dangerous divide between the high-quality, world-class...

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Resolute About Resolutions

(0) Comments | Posted January 1, 2011 | 6:55 PM

This is going to be a good year for you. Why am I so positive? I recently came across some evidence to back up my sunny forecast. My friend John C. Norcross, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and coauthor of the book "Changing for Good," recently...

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Why We Came: A Thanksgiving Thought

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 2:00 PM

Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Meeting Shaketa and many other new friends at our Chicago Health Expo this month are at the top of my Thanksgiving blessings this year. She was with her 10 year old son at the free health screening, and this Thanksgiving she has a new...

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Hormone Therapy: Why Hormone Replacement Could Save Your Life, Not Threaten It

(246) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 8:30 AM

We wouldn't blame you if the latest round of horror story headlines about hormone therapy (HT) and breast cancer inspired you to flush your pills. Scary? Absolutely. But less so and in fact even misleading when you know three things.

Yes, we beg to differ strongly that...

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When the Doctor Becomes a Patient

(157) Comments | Posted September 6, 2010 | 2:57 PM

My life was changed this month and I hope that by sharing my experience, it may save yours. I turned 50 in June and decided with the producers of The Dr. Oz Show to get a colonoscopy to demonstrate to the audience what is recommended and what they could expect....

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The Best Father's Day Gift

(50) Comments | Posted June 18, 2010 | 7:05 PM

Its time for some guy talk. Women, you are welcome to listen too, since this affects the men in your lives and you are in a position to lengthen and even save them. Father's Day is coming up, and it's a time to focus on the most rewarding part of...

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A Requiem For The Pursuit Of Knowledge

(53) Comments | Posted March 2, 2010 | 5:08 PM

Sea World Tragedy Shows Both The Risk in Understanding Animals and The Nobility in a Life Spent Pursuing a Deeper Relationship

It was with shock and sadness last week that I read the news of the death of Dawn Brancheau, the trainer at Sea World who died during the Shamu...

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The Consequence Of Sweetness: There's No Such Thing As 'Just A Little Sugar'

(574) Comments | Posted February 12, 2010 | 8:39 AM

I want to introduce you to a brave woman at the hospital where I work. Her name is Laureen. At 34 years old, she was an active nurse -- vibrant, full of life and a volunteer EMT. But now, 10 years later, she spends three days a week tethered to...

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Dr. Oz's BIG Sleep Tips (VIDEO)

(16) Comments | Posted January 14, 2010 | 6:16 AM

Arianna Huffington and Cindi Leive pose a very significant challenge to this nation -- to get seven and a half hours of sleep just for a month. I applaud them for seeking a less stressed, happier universe that is full of clearer thinking, immune system-boosted humans. And let me offer...

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It's All in How You See It: The Resolution Revolution

(136) Comments | Posted December 31, 2009 | 10:29 AM

Here are my suggested resolutions for 2010: Have more sex, get more sleep, and never let yourself feel hungry. Sound hedonistic? These three resolutions will save and lengthen your life, and they are very realistic and noble goals. New Year's resolutions were never so much fun -- it's all in...

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"The View" of What's In a Name?

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2009 | 12:55 PM

with Craig Wynett and Art Markman, Ph.D.

I was planning my visit on "The View" last week to discuss the new "YOU: Having a Baby" book and started thinking about the importance of the names that our parents present to us after the arduous nine-month pregnancy journey. Some names reflect...

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Under Pressure: Your Body The Weathervane

(48) Comments | Posted December 7, 2009 | 4:40 PM

I want to talk about the weather, and not to make small talk. I want to talk about how the weather affects our bodies and our lives. Our instinctual ancestral memories remind us of the power of nature. We watch major hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, blizzards and tornadoes change entire countries....

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Flicking The Switch: The Phenomenal Circuit Board Of The Epigenetic Frontier

(61) Comments | Posted November 29, 2009 | 9:57 AM

There are many myths that surround procreation. Perhaps the biggest one is that a baby will inherit its genetic blend from its parents and whatever winds up in this software code of life is to be endured for better or worse. Nothing can be done to change it. We were...

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The Great Mammography Debate: "Peace of Mind" Or "Power Of Me?" What Kind Of Person Are You?

(31) Comments | Posted November 23, 2009 | 9:40 AM

The news last week that the Unites States Preventive Screening Task Force was recommending women without risk factors begin mammograms at age 50 instead of 40 was the medical shot heard round the world. Within a day we had thousands of angry and confused emails from Americans scared by the...

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