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Jackson Tragedy May Serve to Educate Public on Addiction, Says American Society of Addiction Medicine
Date:7/22/2009

nceton, NJ. "We want to help the public understand addiction, and make sure that those with addictions know how to get the most effective, evidence-based help available."

Addiction to alcohol, tobacco, prescription and other drugs, and addiction treatment, are often misunderstood or stigmatized, as are those with addictions. Research and experience have shown that addiction is a chronic disease that may run the course of a lifetime, and those with addictions may experience relapses and remissions. A disease of the brain, addiction is also influenced by genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. Addiction is characterized by: significant time spent using or obtaining a drug that interferes with one's ability to meet obligations; continued drug use despite one's awareness that it is causing or worsening a medical or psychological condition; drug use in larger amounts or over longer periods of time than were planned by the user; and the physiological processes of tolerance and withdrawal.

"It is important to remember that the diagnosis of addiction requires an examination by a qualified addiction professional, such as a physician certified in addiction medicine," said Michael M. Miller, MD, FASAM, FAPA, Immediate Past President, ASAM and Medical Director, NewStart Program, Meriter Hospital, Madison, WI. "Once diagnosed, addiction should be treated using scientifically proven methods, with an intensity and duration of treatment sufficient to address each individual patient's condition."

"Unfortunately, not all services offered to persons with addictions are evidence-based or effective," said Dr. Miller. "But there are health care professionals, including physicians board-certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and other members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, who understand addiction, are trained to make an appropriate diagnosis, and can provide appropria
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