Speakers to Debate Medication, Non-Medication Recovery Approaches


Petros Levounis, MD, MA

In recent years, more medications for the treatment of addiction have been developed, but at the same time some addiction specialists and their patients have chosen to go down a different path by staying away from medications. Hear from supporters—both patients and physicians—of both approaches in an intriguing session Sunday.

Speakers at Symposium 13, “Medication vs. Non-Medication Approaches to Recovery,” will look at research data and clinical experiences from the different treatment methodologies from 10:15 am to 12:15 pm in Orange Ballroom D, Lower Level.

“This is a dynamic that has been very alive in the American Society of Addiction Medicine: To what extent maintenance medications are helpful and to what extent the non-medication approaches to recovery are preferable,” said Petros Levounis, MD, MA, FASAM, a session organizer.

“All of us have thought about this question, but we have not approached it in a formal way and we haven’t debated the pros and cons of medication versus non-medication approaches to recovery at an ASAM symposium until now,” said Dr. Levounis, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

The session will feature Sharon Stancliff, MD, ABAM Diplomate, presenting recent research data about medication versus non-medication approaches in recovery. She is the Medical Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Kenneth Thompson, MD, FASAM, ABAM Diplomate, will present treatment options based on non-medication, abstinence, and spiritual principles. He is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

Two people in recovery will present their experiences—one who used medication and one who did not, Dr. Levounis said.

Leading off the session, the organizers, Dr. Levounis and Melvin Pohl, MD, FASAM, ABAM Diplomate, will discuss concepts of recovery as defined in mental health treatment systems versus addiction treatment, and experiences with non-medication addiction treatment. Dr. Pohl is Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center.