Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Effective Addiction Treatments are Available

By John Renner, MD and Frances Levin, MD

We are all saddened by the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the many other individuals who have died because of overdoses of heroin or pain medications.  For all of those individuals who struggle with opioid use problems, it is important to realize that help is available and that effective treatment can restore them to productive lives.  Some 4.7 million people in the U.S. have used heroin at least once in their lives.  It is estimated that nearly a quarter of people that use heroin become dependent on it.

Whether it be through mutual support programs such as NA, long-term residential treatment, or addiction pharmacotherapy with buprenorphine, methadone or ER naltrexone, no individual need fear that their condition cannot be treated.  Friends and family members also need to be educated in the use of intra-nasal naloxone for the reversal of opioid overdoses.  

APA has long fostered the development of addiction focused training
programs for psychiatrists.  Many psychiatrists have been specifically trained to provide office-based addiction pharmacotherapy and to manage the co-occurring psychiatric disorders that often complicate recovery from substance use disorders.  

More information:
·         Information on addiction
·         Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (SAMHSA)
·         Substance use treatment locator (SAMHSA)
·         Buprenorphine Physician and Treatment locator (SAMHSA)
·         For psychiatrists:  Providers Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment

Blog contributors:

John Renner, MD
Member, APA Council on Addicition Psychiatry (Past Chair)
Director of Addiction Fellowship Program,

Professor of Psychiatry,  Boston University School of Medicine
Associate Chief of Psychiatry, VA Boston Healthcare System

Frances Levin, MD
Chair, APA Council on Addiction Psychiatry
Kennedy-Leavy Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center
Director, Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship,
New York Presbyterian Hospital
New York State Psychiatric Institute

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