Special Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation conference to focus on issues surrounding addiction

Opioid epidemic, marijuana, Affordable Care Act among pressing topics

hazelden-addictionThe Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Professionals in Residence (PIR) program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Scaife Family Foundation will host a special conference June 20-21 in Minnesota for primary health care providers to learn more about the issues surrounding addiction.

Primary care doctors, who receive limited addiction training during an otherwise rigorous medical education, will gain knowledge and the tools needed to face the growing challenges posed by pressing issues like the painkiller epidemic and changing attitudes about marijuana and addiction in general. They will also learn more about how the Affordable Care Act affects primary and specialized care for addiction.

“It really is a passion for me to teach other physicians to recognize and better manage addiction,” says Dr. Pamela Shultz, the medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Center City and the conference director. “This is an area that’s often not taught well, if at all, in medical school and residency training. This is really a niche that needs to be filled, and with all the expertise at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, we have a lot to provide to other health care professionals.”

The main two-day conference will be held Friday and Saturday, June 20-21, at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. At an optional half-day pre-conference session on Thursday, June 19, in Center City, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the Collaborative for REMS Education (CO*RE) will present on the safe prescribing of opioid pain medications. To register and to learn more, go to Addiction Medicine for the Primary Care Provider Conference.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation’s leader in educating primary care providers about addiction, offering weeklong educational experiences at Hazelden in Minnesota and the Betty Ford Center in California. The conference this summer is an alternative for those who do not yet have the time for a weeklong commitment or who are wishing to supplement prior learning.

The conference is ideal for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, residents, fellows, psychiatrists and mental health professionals.

Addiction to heroin and prescription opioids-such as Vicodin, OxyContinDilaudid, Demerol or Sublimaze-ranks as the fastest growing addiction problem in the nation, with overdose now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Meanwhile, 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed ballot or legislative initiatives to allow medical marijuana, with two of those states also permitting marijuana for recreational use.

“These are noteworthy trends for primary care providers, who serve as the front line when it comes to helping patients identify substance use problems,” Shultz said. “Primary care is a demanding setting because of the wide range of patient issues presented there. We are excited to share our specific expertise and work together to help reduce the negative impact of addiction.”

Another important conference topic will be the Affordable Care Act, which in tandem with “parity” regulations established last year, greatly extends insurance coverage for addiction treatment. Article Link…

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