Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Compassionate care, decriminalization crucial to mitigating addiction epidemic



– Health care providers need to practice compassionate care to achieve the best results when managing patients who are dealing with opioid addiction, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the annual meeting of the American College of Physicians.

Caring “compassionately is not enabling, [it’s] doing the right thing by the patient,” explained Chwen-Yuen Angie Chen, MD, of Stanford (Calif.) University. “You can practice compassionate care if you have a knowledge base. Knowledge is extremely powerful and enables you to follow evidence-based medicine, which is truly compassionate care.”

Dr. Chen spoke at length about addiction medicine during a press conference outlining the ACP’s new position paper on preventing and treating substance abuse, where she was joined by ACP President Nitin S. Damle, MD, and ACP Board of Regents Chair Thomas G. Tape, MD. All three emphasized the need for decriminalization and destigmatization of opioid abuse, and they called on physicians to guide patients through resources and compassionate care to help them overcome the affliction.

“We know that we need to either taper, detoxify, or reduce opioid dosing. We know that we ought not to coprescribe with sedatives. We know that, if you need addiction treatment, you get referred, and you don’t just get cut off,” explained Dr. Chen.

In a video interview, Dr. Chen talked about the key take-home messages of the position paper, and she explained other aspects of substance abuse that requires provider’s awareness.

Dr. Chen did not report any relevant financial disclosures.

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