Neil Capretto, DO, a pioneering influence in addiction medicine and the longtime medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pennsylvania and Ohio, died of cancer this month at 62.
Gateway Rehab stated in an article on its website that during numerous surgeries and treatments for the rare small cell carcinoma diagnosis that he received, Capretto had continued to work daily in patient care, the Tribune-Review in western Pennsylvania reported.
In comparing his medical status to that of people struggling with addiction, Capretto had said, “The only difference is I am blessed with receiving the best medical care that modern science can offer. At least I have a fighting chance. I believe that people with addiction deserve to have the same fighting chance that I do.”
Among his leadership roles, Capretto served on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Task Force on Addiction Medicine in the 21st Century and was a board member of the Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine. As one of the first physicians to receive certification in addiction medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), Capretto often expressed concern over the lack of addiction expertise among many in the medical profession.
In a 2015 Addiction Professional article on the possible implications of the federal government's decision to approve OxyContin for use in children ages 11 to 17, Capretto warned that “based on the many new patients I see every week for prescription opioid addiction, I know that there remains a large percentage of the medical community that still has a long way to go on the learning curve.”
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