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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Addiction Screening Recommendation

addiction
With millions of Americans in the grips of alcohol and substance use disorders, the need for encouraging them to seek help is high. When people go untreated, behavioral health disorders escalate in severity and can be life-threatening. Active addiction often persists for years before a person acts and attempts to make changes in their life. However, such people require professional assistance to bring about lasting recovery.

The stigma of use disorders has a severe impact on society and prevents people from talking about their issues. Many men and women have a lot of shame surrounding their use of or dependence on drugs and alcohol. This reality means that they will go to exceedingly great lengths to prevent others from discovering that there’s a problem.

Since addiction is a complex disease that can be fatal, there is a significant need to get men and women to open up. While many individuals are unwilling to talk about their struggles with friends and family, they may be more likely to be honest with medical professionals.

Doctors are bound by a code that prevents them from disclosing a patient’s personal information. Patient/doctor confidentiality is likely to make people who struggle with drugs and alcohol feel more willing to talk. If physicians treat such patients with compassion, it can result in taking actions toward recovery.

Doctors Can Encourage Addiction Treatment Services


For more than two decades, the primary care physician's role in contributing to the addiction epidemic has been called into question. Little oversight and ignorance created a massive opioid crisis that has proven nearly impossible to contain. While many doctors have changed their approach to managing pain, the damage done is hard to undo.

It’s not possible to turn back the clock, but physicians can have a hand in encouraging people to utilize recovery services. There is evidence suggesting that doctors should screen each patient for signs of alcohol or substance use disorder.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts, recommends that medical professionals screen every adult patient for nonmedical drug use, STAT reports. The experts can state, with “moderate certainty,” that screening for substance use is beneficial.

“We have a pretty high prevalence of adults using illicit drugs and we’re seeing harms every day from that,” said task force member Dr. Carol Mangione, the chief of general internal medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This is a big change that we’re really excited about. Effective treatment is where we will finally begin to move the needle on the epidemic.”

The task force stops short of encouraging a particular screening tool, according to the article. Dr. Mangione said it would be up to PCPs, hospital systems, and medical organizations to decide the best course of action.

If a patient shows signs of having a substance use disorder, physicians can then offer guidance on which steps to take next. Doctors can play a significant role in encouraging treatment and the utilization of local recovery resources.

The new recommendation will be posted for public comment until Sept. 9, 2019. The task force will review comments and then issue final guidance.

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center


At The Haven, we have a team of experienced, addiction professionals who can help you make lasting changes for the better. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and take steps toward realizing long-term addiction recovery. Our center is the perfect place to renew to your best today.