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Experts: Personal biases should not influence opioid treatment

February 4, 2015
by Douglas J. Edwards, Publisher
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Experts in addiction treatment considered the question “What is Working in Treating Opioid-Dependent Patients?” during a discussion at the Addiction Professional Academy in Orange County, Calif., today. Panelists agreed that providers can best serve their patients by keeping an open mind to all treatment philosophies, even if they don’t personally agree with them.

“I think it’s important for us to look at our personal biases,” commented Pete Nielsen, deputy director of the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP). “It’s important to not get stuck on a philosophy or modality, but [examine] what works for that particular client and how we can best serve the client and meet his needs.”

David Skonezny, CADC-II, ICADC, COO of Simple Recovery, agreed, noting that clinicians can become hung up on “loaded terms” such as Suboxone and medication-assisted treatment, losing sight of the goal to help clients achieve healthier lives, not meet the clinician’s individual definition of sobriety.

Renowned addiction treatment pioneer David E. Smith, MD, FASAM, FAACT, acknowledged his own biases against some treatment modalities but emphasized “I cannot allow that to impact my practice of medicine.”

And Larry Snyder, MD, medical director of Sovereign Health of California, added, “One size doesn’t fit all. This is a spectrum of disease.”  He continued, “At the heart of the matter, my own philosophy is to move patients to sobriety. Whether they make it is up to them.”

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This is a great piece and it's good to keep reminding ourselves that what worked for one person may not be what will work for another. I wish everyone in the helping profession felt this way.

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