There’s been a new development in the medical field that could completely change the way we treat substance abuse in America- and no, it’s not some miracle medication or memory-altering procedure: addiction medicine is now recognized as a sub-specialty for medical professionals.
What does this mean? Well, until now doctors could not specialize in addiction recovery, thus contributing to the massive gap in availability and quality of recovery services. Our very own Nurse Supervisor Eny Torres even noted herself that education regarding substance abuse is lacking in the medical field.
Stigmas, shame, and lack of access to recovery services further expand that gap, leaving some to believe relief and reformation is out of reach, impossible.
Only 10 percent of the 21 million people in the U.S. living with substance abuse disorders will receive the treatment they need.
As of March 14th, 2016, the establishment of addiction as a sub-specialty will help to bridge that disparancy. This decision, announced by the American Board of Medical Specialties, opens the door for great strides in improving addiction recovery services across the United States, including:
- The ability to establish and expand accredited addiction medicine programs.
- Encouragement of medical professionals and students to specialize in addiction recovery.
- Increased availability and affordability of rehabilitation facilities.
This is beneficial to medical professionals as well: certification in specialized fields comes with job security and higher wages. With the ever increasing need for medical treatment for substance abuse, demand for specialists is higher than ever. Before this decision, the only physicians able to specialize in addiction medicine were psychiatrists, established in 1992; additionally, none of the over 9,000 medical education institutions offered training in addiction medicine.
Now, going forward, specialization in both physical and psychological addiction medicine can help pave the way for a brighter future.