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Primary care doctors to become educated about addiction

April 10, 2014
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Professionals in Residence (PIR) program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Scaife Family Foundation are set to host a conference June 20-21 in Minnesota for primary health care providers to learn more about the issues surrounding addiction.

Primary care doctors, who receive limited addiction training during an otherwise rigorous medical education, will gain knowledge and the tools needed to face the growing challenges posed by pressing issues like the painkiller epidemic and changing attitudes about marijuana and addiction in general. They will also learn more about how the Affordable Care Act affects primary and specialized care for addiction.

"It really is a passion for me to teach other physicians to recognize and better manage addiction," says Dr. Pamela Shultz, the medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Center City and the conference director. "This is an area that's often not taught well, if at all, in medical school and residency training. This is really a niche that needs to be filled, and with all the expertise at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, we have a lot to provide to other health care professionals."

Among the topics and discussions will be a presentation by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the Collaborative for REMS Education (CO*RE) on the safe prescribing of opioid pain medications. 

"These are noteworthy trends for primary care providers, who serve as the front line when it comes to helping patients identify substance use problems," Shultz said. "Primary care is a demanding setting because of the wide range of patient issues presented there. We are excited to share our specific expertise and work together to help reduce the negative impact of addiction."

Another important conference topic will be the Affordable Care Act, which in tandem with "parity" regulations established last year, greatly extends insurance coverage for addiction treatment.

Read the source article at EurekAlert!