Sessions Address Integrating Addiction and Primary Care

The ASAM Medical-Scientific Conference examines a wealth of important and interesting topics for addiction professionals, many of which are addressed in special symposia, courses, and workshops.

One of the dominant topics at the conference is the integration of addiction care into primary care, which will be addressed in a symposium and three workshops Saturday, and in a Sunday workshop that focuses on primary care in a rural setting. Symposium 10, “Addressing Substance Use Disorders in Primary Care and the Patient-Centered Medical Home,” will feature four speakers from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Jefferson Room.

“There is a huge focus on primary care, especially on Saturday,” said Gavin Bart, M.D., FASAM, chair of the conference planning committee. “These are big topics that are getting a lot of attention in different forums. They showcase not only the latest research in the symposium, but hands-on, how-to approaches in workshops.

“To diagnose or treat those issues, or prevent them from occurring, we need to integrate our specialty into primary care and provide support and educational opportunities to primary care physicians so they are aware of how to recognize, treat, and, when they need help, refer to addiction specialists.”

Two related topics are prescription drug addiction and addressing the needs of military personnel returning home from theaters of operation, Dr. Bart said. Both topics will be addressed in sessions Friday. Symposium 2, “Treatment of the Returning Military Veteran,” will be presented from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Jefferson East. Symposium 3, “Prescription Drug Abuse,” will be presented from 3 to 5 p.m. in the International Ballroom West.

Other interesting sessions highlighted by Dr. Bart:

  • Course 3, “Trafficking and Distributing Illegal Drugs: Money, Status, Intimidation, and Terror,” will be presented from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday in the Cabinet Room. “This is going to be a fascinating presentation on the economic and gang/organized crime-related forces behind the illegal drug trade and how it affects our patients, their families, and our communities. This session is a special partnership between ASAM, the FBI, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” Dr. Bart said.
  • Symposium 8, “Town Hall: Method & Rationale — DSM-5 Substance Abuse,” will be presented from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Jefferson Room. The three panelists at the session are on the writing committee for DSM-5, and audience members can ask them questions. “We have not only leaders in field, but people who have the inside view of how this process has gone,” he said. “This is a unique and exciting opportunity for something that is going to impact addiction for the coming years.”
  • Symposium 9, “Sleep and Addiction: Understanding the Problem and the Need to Act,” will be presented form 2 to 4 p.m. in the Lincoln Room, on the Concourse level. “This reminds me very much of where we were 10 years ago with the issue of pain and addiction, which is now a topic that has come to the fore,” Dr Bart said. “Sleep is the next area where we enter into this debate of balancing behavioral approaches with medications that potentially have risks we would rather avoid.”
  • Two sessions related to Symposium 9 on Saturday are Course 4: “Sleep Problems in Dual Disorders: A Protocol for Assessment and Comprehensive Management,” presented from 10 a.m. to noon, and Workshop F, “Addressing Sedative Use in Both Addiction and Chronic Pain Patients,” from 4 to 6 p.m., both in Monroe, on the Concourse level.