Educating Physicians About Substance Abuse

Written by Eliza Player on Monday, 02 April 2012. Posted in Prescription Drugs

Educating Physicians About Substance Abuse

In 2011, a group of doctors pleaded on Capitol Hill that we do something to stop prescription drug abuse. We have seen this plea before, resulting in crackdowns on pharmacies and doctors prescribing these pain medication, but these doctors have a different answer. They propose that all doctors get real training in prescribing addictive drugs, recognizing signs of addiction, and identifying problematic patterns of use.

Most physicians receive little to no training regarding substance abuse or the use of controlled substances that have the potential for addiction. Although these medications are useful in some cases, better education will help doctors to recognize drug-seeking behavior and signs of addiction. Then, these doctors can be better equipped to diagnose and refer these patients to treatment the same way they would someone with high blood pressure. This could also help to defeat the stigma associated with addiction.

In this article, a recovering addict recounts a story of a doctor offering him Xanex for his anxiety. The man reminded the doctor that he was in recovery, and the doctor replied that, “one pill isn’t going to send you back to the Garden of Eden.” Thankfully, the recovering addict had a different opinion and he declined the prescription and changed doctors. This is just one example of a doctor who could benefit from this proposed drug abuse training.

We see cases of doctors prescribing addictive drugs to patients that re recovering addicts, or have a history with substance abuse. Look at Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. As long as physicians do not understand addiction, or lack the tools to intervene when a patient is in trouble, this problem will inevitably continue.

About the Author

Eliza Player

Eliza Player

I have been writing as long as I can remember, even carrying tattered notebooks with me through the streets and strip clubs of New Orleans, in the midst of my heroin addiction. I lived a life saturated in heroin until Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, leaving me to fend for myself, eventually facing my demons and coming face to face with my addiction. I have been clean for five years, and since then I have become a mother, graduated college, and started a writing career. I have a B.A. in Mass Media Communication, with a minor in Journalism. I have also written one published book, Through Both Hell and High Water: A Memoir of Addiction and Hurricane Katrina, which tells the story of those dark days I spent in New Orleans after the storm, battling with addiction amidst a natural disaster. I am the blogger and news curator for RecoveryNowTV, and I love sharing the stories of the world, as well as my own personal journey, with my readers. I hope that my words can touch others out there, struggling with addiction.

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