WPS Newsletter June 2012 : Page 1

spring 2012 THE PRESiDEnT’S CoLuMn B y R oBeRt W est K eisling , MD, DlFAPA, i MMeDiAte P Ast P ResiDent years on buprenorphine. Some of these people are off probation or parole for the first time in their adult lives. Every study has shown that the average heroin addict costs society thousands of dollars per year for criminal justice and health care systems expenses. We have over two million people in our jails and prisons. Billions of dollars are being spent on the war on drugs. Stud-ies have documented the cost-savings of drug treatment for decades. Baltimore has an extensive buprenor-phine program with over one thousand people in treatment. They have trained over one hundred physicians to prescribe. DC on the other hand has no program in spite of the highest HiV infection rate in the united States. it is ridiculous that new treatments are not available for people who have failed methadone, detox, and residential programs. More people die from drug overdoses of narcotic pain relievers than from cocaine and heroin combined. We have to do a better job of educating the public about the wasteful spending that is occurring in an effort to deal with this problem. Some states have passed diversion laws mandating drug treatment as opposed to jail for drug charges. We must advocate for treatment as a less expensive, more effective way of dealing with the problems of drug and alcohol abuse. WPS Officers and Directors President Avram Mack, MD President-Elect Gary Soverow, MD, DLFAPA Secretary Shira Rubenstein, MD, DLFAPA Treasurer Carol Trippitelli, MD Immediate Past-President Robert W. Keisling, MD, DLFAPA Newsletter Editor Hind Benjelloun, MD Executive Director Patricia H. Troy, M.Ed, CAE i have been prescribing buprenorphine for the last nine years. it is an amazing experience to see people who have been struggling with opiate addiction for over 20 years remain sober for ToBACCo ADDiCTion: A BioPSyCHoSoCiAL ConunDRuM B y g eoRge K oloDneR , MD The treatment of tobacco addiction occupies a uniquely puzzling position in the psychiatric community. There are a number of key features to consider. ics and schizophrenics. Fortunately, patients are motivated. The majority of patients who enter treatment for substance use disorders have attempted to quit tobacco and are open to another attempt. Finally, effective treatment exists. The Mayo Clinic offers one of the few intensive treatment programs for tobacco and has a six-month abstinence rate of 52%. Despite the above facts, psychiatrists usually do not focus on tobacco use. Patients are not routinely asked about their tobacco use, and those who do use are not advised to quit. Those with substance use disorders who express a desire to quit tobacco are often advised to delay quitting, although studies do not support this advice. Additionally, Continued to page 7. inside this issue: page 1 President’s Message page 3 Editor’s Message page 5 WPS Annual Meeting page 7 Chaper Updates/Classifieds page 8 CME Upcoming Salons Mortality is substantial. Tobacco kills more users than all other drugs combined (440,000 vs. 110,000), and second hand smoke kills more bystand-ers each year than do drunk drivers (53,000 vs. 11,000). not surprising, be-havioral health patients are dispropor-tionately affected. Tobacco use has been dramatically reduced in the general population since 1964 from 40% to 20%. its use, however, by people with substance use or severe psychiatric disorders remains high at between 40% and 80%, depending on the particular population. This is considered to be a significant contributor to the decreased life expectancy of recovering alcohol-T 202.595.9498 • F 410.544.4640 • www.dcpsych.org

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