On July 1st, 2011 ten university medical schools began residency programs in Addiction Medicine. These programs are accredited by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. In this episode, host Denise Krochta discusses the goals and aspirations of these new programs with Dr. Alexander Walley of the Boston University Medical Center (where one of the new programs has begun!).
It has always been a concern to those of us who love addicts–and to the addicts themselves!–that many doctors were not equipped to deal with the challenges faced by patients addicted to and abusing substances, both legal and illegal. Throughout the interview, Dr. Walley clears up some of those concerns and enlightens listeners about the future of Addiction Medicine, with regards to both physical and mental health.
As usual, Denise coaxes her guest to reveal a bit about their childhood and what led them to be an advocate against drug abuse. Dr. Alexander Walley is no different, freely opening up about his life: After the death of his father when he was six years old, Dr. Walley first felt the tuggings of knowing, deep down, he was meant for a greater purpose. That purpose was to help those who were less fortunate than he. Yes, he had been through something terrible, but it was that moment in his life where he realized that things could be worse–and for so many people, they are worse. Dr. Walley has since then dedicated his life to helping the homeless and those addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“There’s a separate but equal–or separate but unequal–status for mental health; and even within mental help, there’s a separate but not equal status for addiction treatment,” says Dr. Walley in regard to the importance of Addiction Psychiatrists (and how there just “aren’t enough” of them to go around). “There’s a huge overlap between mental illness and addiction, but there’s also a huge overlap between addiction and medical illnesses,” he continues.
So what are the new Residency Programs going to do to help? Tune in!