More than two thirds of people with addiction see a primary care or
urgent care physician every 6 months, and many others are regularly seen by
other medical specialists.1,2
These physicians are therefore in a prime position to help patients who may
have drug abuse problems by recognizing and diagnosing the addiction, helping
to direct patients to a program that can meet their treatment needs, and helping
to monitor progress after specialty treatment and during recovery.3- 6 Many
physicians, however, find the domain of drug abuse particularly daunting and
often avoid the issue with their patients. This is understandable given the
relatively short shrift drug abuse is given in formal medical education. There
is a widespread misperception that drug abuse treatment is not effective,
which may account for the reluctance of physicians to even broach the subject
of drug abuse or treatment with their patients.
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