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First Addiction and Substance Abuse Training Programs for Doctors

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Accredited Resident Training Programs created for Doctors on the Identification and Treatment of Addiction and Substance Abuse by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) is scheduled to hold the first addiction medicine residencies this July in different Universities & Medical Centers and across theUS. The idea behind the programs is to educate Doctors in the identification and treatment of patients who have addiction or substance abuse problems.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007 more than 27,000 people died from Prescription Drug overdoses, Opioid abuse being the highest. It has become without a doubt a necessary need to educate physicians in our country and hopefully prevent more senseless deaths.

“Physician training in addiction medicine is sorely lacking and courses on the subject are rarely taught in medical school.” stated Dr. Kevin Kunz, president of the ABAM and the ABAM Foundation. "We think that medicine and the nation are now ready to address the primary care of addiction and not just the consequences".

Despite increased efforts to stop doctors from over-prescribing addictive prescription drugs, many physicians are still relatively unaware of the addictive consequences of the drugs they prescribe to their patients. The best solution currently, is to educate “good” Doctors; provide them the opportunity to learn more about addiction and how they can provide the best options to those seeking help, no matter what field they practice.

"Addiction medicine is a specialized field of practice open to all physicians from all medical specialties," said Dr. Kunz “ABAM wants to increase the number of physicians able to diagnose and treat addiction, so patients can access care from a variety of avenues”.

Many people who become addicted or have a substance abuse problem first see their primary care physician. If the doctor has lack of knowledge about addiction, his words may affect how this person seeks or gets help.

“The field has developed in response to unmet needs of people struggling with substance abuse, said Daniel Alford, MD, MPH, associate professor and director of the new addiction medicine residency program at Boston University School of Medicine.

Residents participating in these programs will train in various settings, including working in an Inpatient Detoxification Unit, Group Therapy Sessions, Intensive Outpatient Programs, and Partial Hospitalization programs.

The overwhelming cases in theUnited Statesfor Drugs and Alcohol abuse have become a nationwide fear. With Prescription Painkiller abuse on the rise, more and more patients are becoming addicted and more and more Doctors are prescribing these pills unaware of their patient’s condition. For those patients that may have an addiction problem and not know it and for those seeking help about their addiction but not receiving treatment right away, organizations like ABAM are moving forward in hopes of alleviating the substance abuse problem our country is facing with providing the power of knowledge to Physicians across the states.

The Watershed is America’s premier addiction treatment provider for alcohol treatment and drug treatment staffed with highly trained addiction specialists. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact us at 1-800-861-1768.




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