A reader response to my previous post:
That study was done in 2000. There are certainly major problems remaining with the ability of health care providers to recognize and provide appropriate referrals and/or treatment for addiction and addiction-related problems – but this is way improved since 2000. Assessment tools designed for medical offices, ER’s and clincs are attaining wider use and “brief interventions” have been documented as effective in reducing AOD-related problems and are being taught to front-line health care providers. When I went to nursing school 35 years ago I was taught that cocaine was not addictive, that AA was a nice bandaid for alcoholics but only psychotherapy could “cure” alcoholism and alcoholics rarely wanted to be “cured;” and heroin addicts were untreatable sociopaths. When I floated to the “private” wards of the hospital I worked at and encountered patients experiencing impending DT’s, I was often screamed at by their personal physicians for suggesting that their Very Important Patient might be an alcoholic (and then the physician would prescribe detox-level doses of ATC librium, magnesium sulfate and thiamine injections to “calm his nerves.”) The nurses and doctors I encounter these days are way better educated and equipped. There is much progress in this area, and while more progress is needed I would hope that people would not be discouraged from seeking help and support from health care providers, in cooperation with whatever other help and support they need to recover, and that if their health care provider is not competent to provide appropriate support that they find one who is.