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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