National Addiction Treatment Week Inspires Medical Professionals to Treat Addiction and Save Lives

(Rockville, MD) October 19, 2020 – Today marks the beginning of National Addiction Treatment Week, October 19-25, 2020. The week, started in 2017, raises awareness that addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and recovery is possible. There is a critical gap between the number of patients who need addiction treatment and qualified medical professionals available to treat patients using evidence-based approaches. During this dedicated week, the partners and promotional supporters of National Addiction Treatment Week join its host, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), to encourage medical professionals to learn more about addiction and treatment.

To save lives, patients with addiction need increased access to treatment. Expanding the number of medical professionals who are qualified to treat addiction with evidence-based care is one important way to accomplish this goal. According to SAMHSA, in 2019, 7.8 percent of people aged 12 or older (or 21.6 million people) needed substance use treatment in the past year. Of these 21.6 million, 4.2 million received treatment in that time period, with only 2.6 million receiving it at a specialty treatment facility.¹

This year, the week’s focus will be on providing clinicians and providers who work in a variety of medical settings and specialties with essential tools and resources needed to treat the disease. Physicians, board-certified in addiction medicine, and clinicians who treat addiction daily will inspire other medical professionals to join them by learning more about evidence-based treatment.

Engaging events of the week include Twitter chats with experts from ASAM, NIAAA, and NIDAMED about emergency medicine management of severe alcohol withdrawal and treating adolescents with addiction, respectively, and free insightful webinars on motivational interviewing, different career path options in addiction medicine, and alcohol withdrawal management. Throughout the week, clinicians and providers who already treat addiction will be sharing their experiences on social media.  Participate in the week by following @TreatmentWeek on Twitter and using #treatmentweek in your posts. Together, we can help more people receive evidence-based treatment and improve patient outcomes.

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Christine Merrifield



¹ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from

National Addiction Treatment Week Highlights the Critical Need for the Medical Community to Treat Addiction

(Rockville, MD) October 21, 2019 – Each year, National Addiction Treatment Week (NATW) raises awareness that addiction is a disease, evidence-based treatments are available, and recovery is possible.  This year, October 21-October 27, the week will highlight the critical need for clinicians to enter the field of addiction medicine. Clinicians trained in addiction are essential to fill the treatment gap between patients who need evidence-based addiction treatment and the insufficient number of clinicians qualified to treat addiction. Along with its supportive partners, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) will be hosting the week with a dedicated twitter handle @TreatmentWeek and using #TreatmentWeek to build important conversations on social media.

More clinicians trained in addiction are needed to overcome the addiction epidemic overwhelming the United States today. In 2018, approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year. 1 More people died from a drug overdose than from car accidents in 2017, 2,3 and nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year.4 Only about 17% of those diagnosed with substance use disorder received the treatment they need.5 In 2018, an estimated 2 million Americans were addicted to opioids, yet only about 400,000 people received treatment at a specialty facility.6

“National Addiction Treatment Week amplifies the crucial message that when patients are treated appropriately by certified addiction medicine specialists, we can save lives and improve treatment outcomes.  The medical community must be at the forefront of communities proclaiming that addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a moral failure, and as such must be treated with evidence-based, research verified care.” said Paul H. Earley, MD, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “To overcome the health crisis, we need to expand the number of medical professionals who understand the complexities of the disease and are trained to treat addiction. Only then will we see real progress.”

We are proud to stand with our dedicated National Addiction Treatment Week partners: Advocates for Opioid Recovery, the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, Beyond Definition, MI Cares, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute of Drug Abuse/NIDAMED (NIDA), and Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Join the engaging events of the week which include Twitter chats with ASAM and NIAAA on alcohol use disorder and NIDA experts on adolescents and addiction; a Facebook rebroadcast of a compelling conversation between David and Nic Sheff, from Beautiful Boy, and adolescent addiction medicine specialist, Dr. Marc Fishman; and inspiring social media posts from addiction medicine specialists throughout the week.  Together, we can help more people receive evidence-based treatment and improve patient outcomes.

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