Chapter President Offers Warm Georgia Greeting

Daniel (Ray) Gaskin Jr., M.D.

Daniel (Ray) Gaskin Jr., M.D.

Georgia Society of Addiction Medicine (GSAM) President Daniel (Ray) Gaskin Jr., M.D., extends a warm welcome to addition medicine specialists who are converging on his home state for the 43rd ASAM Medical-Scientific Conference.

“Atlanta is a vibrant, modern city with warm elements of the deep South and Southern hospitality,” he says. “In preparing for the Med-Sci, GSAM has actively promoted the conference to addiction medicine specialists and psychiatrists, faculty, residents, and students of medical schools, specifically Emory University, Mercer University, and the Medical College of Georgia. We hosted the Welcome Reception Thursday, along with ASAM leaders and state chapter meetings.”

GSAM will host its chapter meeting at 10:30 a.m. today in Room 201 and will highlight its accomplishments for the year. The chapter provided strong advocacy for a Georgia law passed to enable development of the Physicians Health Program (PHP) and then the subsequent formation of the Georgia Professional Health Program, Inc. This nonprofit group of ASAM providers and other addiction treatment providers advocates the appropriate treatment of professionals with addictive disorders. GSAM also promoted passage of the law establishing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in Georgia, and ASAM-certified addictionists will work on the implementation and oversight of this program.

“We are concerned about an epidemic of prescription drug abuse problems and addiction,” Dr. Gaskin says. “We are particularly concerned about making sure that opioid pain medications can be used properly to treat those with chronic pain and that people who develop addictive disorders also receive prompt identification and appropriate treatment.”

Additionally, GSAM supports the continued drive for the American Board of Medical Specialties to recognize the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) in providing board certification to addiction medicine specialists, which would improve credentialing and respectability for the specialty in the medical community. GSAM supports education among physicians of all specialties, residents, and medical students in the safe prescribing of opioids and potentially addictive medications. “One of my personal goals is for an ABAM-certified addictionist to be available within one hour’s drive of any person in Georgia,” Dr. Gaskin says. “Another personal goal of mine is to see that all medical students and medical residents in Georgia have training by ABAM-certified physicians in addictive disorders and have attended community Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous 12-step recovery meetings with follow-up and discussion of 12-step recovery techniques.”

Dr. Gaskin would like to encourage all ASAM members to attend the GSAM 2012 Summer Conference, co-sponsored with the South Carolina Society of Addiction Medicine. The conference is June 29 and 30 in Charleston, S.C. “This GSAM/SCSAM conference is a wonderful blend of addiction science, history, and addiction psychotherapy, a unique learning opportunity for everyone with an interest in the disease of addiction,” he says. Information is available on the GSAM website, www.georgiaasam.org.

In addition to its chapter meeting at the 43rd ASAM Medical-Scientific Conference, GSAM conducted a drawing at this morning’s ASAM Annual Business Meeting for dinner to an Atlanta restaurant. GSAM also has arranged special discounts for conference participants to GSAM members’ favorite restaurants and attractions.

“We are additionally making sure that onsite recovery support meetings are taking place,” Dr. Gaskin says. “It always has been a special pleasure to welcome recovering individuals and physicians to our meetings and to recognize the value of 12-step recovery in addiction treatment.”

The convenience of this year’s Medical-Scientific Conference in Atlanta offers many Georgia member and non-member addiction medicine specialists an opportunity to see what an extensive program the conference offers and what activities GSAM engages in on the behalf of the specialty.

“When they arrive in Georgia, ASAM members will immediately notice that Addiction Medicine is alive and vibrant in Georgia,” he says. “We hope they will come forward and be part of our movement. We need volunteers, and we are happy to share our knowledge and our fellowship. In the 12 years that I have been attending this conference, I have observed and been privileged to participate in revolutionary advances in the understanding and effective treatment of those suffering from addictive disorders. ASAM is a dynamic society. Welcome to the conference and join with us to learn more about treating addiction and saving lives.”