Allen Frances

Author: Allen Frances

Dr. Allen Frances is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and former Chair at Duke University. He was previously chair of the DSM IV Task Force and played an instrumental role in the preparation of DSM III.

He was described by the New York Times as “the most powerful psychiatrist in America” and is the author of the internationally best-selling book Saving Normal, winner of three book awards.

His other recent book, Essentials Of Psychiatric Diagnosis, provides the clearest guide to the use and misuse of psychiatric diagnosis.

Dr. Frances blogs regularly on Huffington Post, Psychiatric Times, Psychology Today, and Education Update. He also Tweets @AllenFrancesMD.
  • Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry

    Former Chair at Duke University

    Former Chair of the DSM IV Task Force
The Failed War on Drugs Marches On

The people who have become dependent on drugs (prescription or street) have always been the collateral damage of the “war on drugs.”

Too Little, Too Late: FDA Responds to Opioid Epidemic

Drugs get FDA approval based on limited research performed under exotic conditions by the very drug companies that stand to profit from positive research.

Should the NFL Let Players Use Pot for Pain?

The NFL is a serial practitioner of drug hypocrisy. It tightly controls relatively harmless pot, but condones dangerous opioid use.

A Ray of Hope for Substance Abuse Treatment

President Trump has picked a real winner for the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health: Dr Elinore McCance-Katz.

Breaking News: Attorney General Escalates War on Drugs

Stuck in the midst of a constitutional mess, AG Sessions has managed to create another new and unnecessary drug policy mess.

Is Pot a Good Treatment For Opioid Addiction?

As more and more states legalize it for medical indications, a number of addiction treatment programs are using pot as a substitute for people addicted to opioids.

President Trumping Prison Reform

President Trump is wrong on correctional issues in all sorts of ways, and some of them are very strange.

Blaming the Victim: Trump and Mexico

We can’t blame Mexico for our drug problem. And we won’t find solutions by name calling. We must get our own act together.

The Right Way – and the Wrong Way – to Deal With Our Opioid Epidemic

Drug companies and cartels kill 30,000 Americans a year, yet we see political hand waving, little action, and counterproductive mistakes.

Trump’s New Pot Policy

Seemingly, the Trump administration will be putting itself in opposition to the states taking a more permissive view of pot.

2015 CDC Report: US Overdose Deaths Top 50,000 For First Time 

The most effective strategy to improve public health is to identify a clearly defined, high frequency health threat and take systematic steps to reduce the risks it poses.

Is Ecstasy a Magic Bullet for PTSD?

This premature, fake, media-driven endorsement may tempt many PTSD sufferers to give Ecstasy a try on their own, before knowing if it works and the potential harms.

Should Addicts Be Patients or Prisoners?

When it comes to drugs, the United States has always had a split personality and a racist tilt.

Sleeping Pills Are Addictive, Unsafe, and Ineffective

Sleeping pills are to be used short-term and only after the patient has been briefed on all the many problems they frequently cause.

Will the Magic Mushroom Help Dying Cancer Patients?

New research indicates one Psilocybin trip, lasting a mere eight hours, can reduce anxiety and depression in about 80% of cancer patients.

A New Patient-Initiated Coalition Battles Benzos

Benzodiazepines have been in widespread use for fifty years, but the clinical trials of these drugs were short-term and their long-term safety was never established.

How Low Can Pharma Go in Pushing Its Opioid Drugs?

I often equate the motives and methods of drug companies and drug cartels, but Pharma’s moral bankruptcy can surprise even me.

Pros and Cons of Pot Prohibition

During the recent election, recreational pot was approved by voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada – losing only in Arizona.

Pharma Finds Yet Another Way To Exploit The Opioid Epidemic

It is not in Pharma’s DNA to miss any opportunity to find profit in patient suffering, even if its own products are at the root of the suffering.

DEA Has the Wrong Priorities…and Kratom is the Wrong Target

When it comes to rating drug danger, Kratom seems to be something of a mild pussycat, while prescription opioids are the most ferocious of tigers.

Is Ketamine Really a Miracle Drug for Depression?

Ketamine is now being given a third possible starring role as a new miracle drug for depression.

OxyContin’s Killer Offspring: Fentanyl and Carfentanil

Carfentanil, a veterinary medicine used for things like anesthetizing elephants, has recently hit the streets and is causing large clusters of overdose and death.

Connecting the Dots Between Opioid Drug Pushing and World-Class Philanthropy

The honor that comes from the Sackler family’s philanthropy is tainted by dishonor in knowing their fortune was accumulated via the OxyContin epidemic.

Opioid Companies Lobby Against Medical Marijuana

The exponential growth of addiction to prescription opioids offers a classic example of selfish corporate greed swamping any vestige of corporate conscience.

DSM-5 Made a Mistake Eliminating Substance Abuse

Two conflicting DSM-5 and DSM IV diagnoses have radically different implications for treatment planning and for prognosis.

Any Psychiatric Symptom Can Be Caused By a Substance

One of the most common mistakes in a psychiatric diagnosis is ignoring the possibility that a substance problem could be causing the presenting symptoms.

Yes, Benzos Are Bad For You

Most people take benzodiazepines long-term, in addictively high doses, and for the wrong reasons.

Behavioral Addictions: A Dangerous and Slippery Slope
When are behavioral addictions considered useful concepts?

A seemingly small change in DSM-5 disguises what is really a giant conceptual leap in the behavioral addiction arena.