“A Violation of Medical Ethics”

By Richard L. Brown, MD, MPH —

Rarely have I seen such strong words used to describe the failure of our healthcare system to address risky and problem tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and addictive disorders. The quote in the title is taken from a comprehensive, scientifically based, and hard-hitting report recently released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The executive summary (Chapter 1) is worth a read.  It validates everything we’re trying to do to improve tobacco, alcohol and drug screening, intervention, referral, and treatment — and we can use the same infrastructure to address depression, nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

 Here is more context for the title quote:

“It is long past time for health care practice to catch up with the science.  Failure to do so is a violation of medical ethics, a cause of untold human suffering, and a profligate misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Of course, many employer dollars are being wasted, too.

Download the report

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