My child’s health care provider did not identify his addiction

Health care providers receive minimal training to address addiction and are unequipped to identify, treat and manage this common life-threatening disease.

By Alice

In high school, his psychiatrist decided to try ADHD stimulant medications. My son began to assertively campaign to administer these meds himself or ask the psychiatrist for an increased dosage. It was a constant battle to keep him from intentionally misusing them; I knew then that stimulants were his drug of choice. This was one of my earliest mistakes — that I didn’t take him to an addiction specialist.

“An otherwise competent psychiatrist, who attended a top medical school and trained in New York City, couldn’t recognize a budding substance use disorder.”

The Problem

Medical schools and other health professional training programs barely address addiction. As a result, many health care providers do not feel confident in their abilities to treat a patient with substance use disorder and tend to share many of the same stereotypes and misconceptions as the general public.

These biases significantly impact the type and quality of care that a patient with addiction receives. The lack of medical professionals trained in addiction treatment makes it exceedingly difficult for patients and their families to find quality, effective, lifesaving care.

The Solution

Train all health professionals in the basics of addiction to fully integrate addiction with the mainstream health care system.

Take Action

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Congress passed the MATE Act!

Send a letter to your members of Congress thanking them for passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included important addiction-related provisions, including the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. The MATE Act requires health care practitioners, as a condition of receiving or renewing their license to prescribe controlled substances, to receive a one-time, eight-hour training on substance use disorder.