White House Drug Policy Office Hosts

“Medicine Responds to Addiction” Symposium

The White House
For Immediate Release

Watch video of the event here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Washington, DC –Today, Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, hosted leaders in graduate medical training, federal agencies, supporting institutions and representatives of current and emerging addiction medicine fellowship training programs at the White House for a symposium entitled “Medicine Responds to Addiction.” The symposium intends to accelerate progress in the medical field to address substance use prevention and the treatment and management of addiction.

“America must bring the power of medicine and public health to bear to reduce substance use and its consequences,” said Director Botticelli. “Today’s symposium can help ensure that the next generation of physicians is well-equipped to bring an effective public health response to substance use disorders.”

Medical leaders participating in the symposium included representatives from The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) Foundation, American Board of Medical Specialties, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and primary care boards including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, as well as the boards for Preventive and Emergency Medicine.

“The house of medicine is truly shining a light today on addiction medicine and the urgent need for trained and certified specialists,” said Dr. Patrick G. O’Connor, President of the ABAM Foundation. “It is our hope that today’s meeting will result in a lasting structure for public-private collaboration in order to further develop the physician workforce to address our nation’s number one public health problem.”

Federal agencies participating in the program included the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Cancer Institute, Office of the Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Veterans Health Administration. Other participants included representatives of large government and private health systems, foundations and research organizations.

Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, and Dr. O’Connor were among those who spoke with symposium participants about the importance of integrating addiction medicine competencies, from prevention through treatment and recovery, into graduate physician training, certification and practice. Symposium participants also held a series of working sessions to discuss specific actions underway or planned in each supporting organization to further these goals. A particular focus of the symposium was the inclusion in medical training and practice of methods to prevent substance use among young people and intervene early to avoid consequences.

Background on the Symposium

The meeting included representatives of three current and 17 prospective addiction medicine fellowship training programs from across the country. Over the last seven years, ACAAM has created addiction medicine fellowship programs at 36 medical schools and teaching hospitals across North America. The Foundation hopes to assist in establishing a total of 125 ACGME-accredited fellowship programs by 2025. The symposium participants from prospective sites have all committed to developing fellowship training programs in order to help build the trained and certified addiction medicine workforce.

The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) has begun the formal process to bring addiction medicine into the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) as a subspecialty available to diplomates from all medical fields. There is a profound need for knowledge in addressing this disease and its prevention and treatment across primary care and in many areas of specialty care practice.

Substance use disorders are one of the largest preventable health problems facing our Nation, affecting 8.1 percent of the non-institutionalized population ages 12 and over in 2014 (21.5 million). In 2014, 22.5 million people in the United States needed treatment for a substance use disorder, and only 11.6% received treatment at a specialty facility for a substance use problem.

Hosted by Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, the symposium was co-sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the ABAM Foundation, whose President is Patrick G. O’Connor, MD, MPH.