The Association has been working with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) since 1994 to produce symposia for medical practitioners/clinicians in methadone treatment programs. Such courses have been offered as pre-conference sessions during our National Methadone Conferences.
The Association’s Board of Directors authorized an expansion of this opportunity so that we could site such training events in different regions of the United States. The first regional opportunity convened in Atlanta on September 22, 1999 titled “Opiate Maintenance Pharmacotherapy: Focus on Methadone/LAAM – A Course for Clinicians”. This event marked the first training independent from our National Methadone Conferences and we were joined by a new cosponsor, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP).
The event was attended by more than 100 individuals, the majority of whom were physicians, nurses and clinicians. It also marked an expansion of the effort, begun by Drs. Thomas Payte, Peter DeMaria, Susan Neshin, and Andrea Barthwell during the 1994 National Methadone Conference, since additional physicians were involved in the Atlanta presentation. They provided information about opioid pharmacology, take home medication, dosing practices, pregnancy and prenatal considerations, pain management, toxicology drug screenings and the development of new pharmacotherapies.
The faculty included Dr. Trusandra Taylor, Associate Medical Director of Community Behavioral Health in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Thomas Payte, Medical Director of Drug Dependence Associates in San Antonio, TX and Dr. Michael Scimeca, Director, Department of Addiction Medicine at the St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City.
Once again, the evaluations were extremely favorable and our Association has been encouraged to replicate this training in other parts of the country. We were fortunate to receive support through an educational grant from the Frontier Insurance Company in cooperation with David Szerlip and Associates to produce this symposium. We will be offering this training opportunity once again on Sunday, April 9, 2000 as a pre-conference session during the next National Methadone Conference. We will expand our sponsorship opportunity at this Conference event to include the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine.
The expansion of this training initiative is another method of preparing physicians both within and outside the methadone treatment field for the opportunities to treat stabilized methadone maintained patients in private medical practice settings through medical maintenance treatment. In this way, we are fulfilling the recommendations of the NIH Consensus panel of November 1997, which included “improving the training that physicians and other healthcare professionals receive in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heroin addiction”.