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Family Physicians Group Offers Doctors Online Tools for Addiction Treatment

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The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is offering its members online tools to help them care for patients and families struggling with addiction.

The tools include the Addiction Performance Project, designed to reduce the stigma often associated with addiction, and to help doctors better identify and assist patients who abuse drugs, according to AAFP News Now. The Project includes a video of professional actors reading from Eugene O’Neill’s play about addiction, “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” followed by reaction from a panel of family physicians.

“There is a lot of material out there talking about addiction, as well as about the prescription and nonprescription medications that can lead to addiction,” said Robert Rich Jr., MD, Chair of the AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science’s Opioid Abuse and Pain Management Workshop. “The benefit of this project is that it provides another human face to addiction and talks, in the panel discussion, about how to handle some of the different aspects of addiction, including patient resistance to seeking care.”

Rich said the Project can help family physicians explore the role of individual biases and beliefs about people who abuse drugs, and how these beliefs affect each physician’s approach to screening for addiction and treating addicted patients. It also can help doctors use empathy, knowledge, and supporting tools to improve communication skills and confidence in using screening tools and resources, such as the evidence-based Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment practice model.

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