Opioid Epidemic Can Be Fought with Well-Trained Physicians

Opioid Epidemic Can Be Fought with Well-Trained Physicians

Opioid abuse and overdoses happen on a near-daily basis across the country; the nationwide opioid epidemic is the worst national health catastrophe since the 1918 flu pandemic.

If the next generation of medical professionals and health care providers are equipped with the tools and knowledge to fight addiction, a potential treatment of the opioid epidemic can become a long-term solution—the current opioid epidemic cannot be solved solely by law enforcement officers or inadequate health care professionals.

Opioids are not the main cause of the opioid epidemic. Rather, addiction, a complex disease, is that culprit that needs to be treated. Addiction usually involves multiple substances; abuse of one substance is likely to be followed with abuse of another. In order to treat the opioid epidemic, we must treat addiction—otherwise, the current nationwide crisis will only be followed by the abuse of another substance.

The good news is that substance abuse and addiction are both preventable and treatable. Effective prevention and treatment options already exist, and can be implemented as routine medical care. In order to successfully combat the opioid epidemic, we need a national commitment from public officials, law enforcement officers and health care providers.

The Addiction Medicine Foundation recently joined with all three Congressional drug caucuses to hose a briefing on the need to build a new physician addiction medicine workforce. Development of a new workforce has already begun, with 45 addiction medicine physician training programs established across the country.

This new field and training programs will soon be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, moving addiction treatment and prevention into the mainstream medical care.

Addiction treatment is available. Don’t wait any longer to ask for help.

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction?
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