Mankind stands at the crossroads, recognizing the need for a radical change in bacterial disease management. The development of several antimicrobial agents in the 1940s and 1950s allowed man to gain the upper hand in controlling these diseases. However, the horizon is now clouded by the activation in bacteria of cryptic multi-drug resistance (MDR) genes and the spread of plasmid- and integron-born MDR genes through bacterial populations. Unless remedial measures are taken, nearly all currently available antimicrobial agents are likely to soon lose their efficacies. We briefly review the bacterial MDR phenomenon and focus on a recently emerging family of small multi-drug resistance (SMR) pumps which may provide an ideal model system for understanding the MDR phenomenon in general.