National Drug Policy: The Texas Medical Association endorses the consensus statement of the Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy as a rational approach to influencing national policy on drugs, legal and illegal; promotes medical approaches to substance use disorders by continuing to encourage physician involvement in case identification, diagnostic assessment, clinical therapeutic interventions, medical evaluation and management, and ongoing public health and chronic disease management, as appropriate, for cases of alcohol and other drug addiction of legal and illegal drugs; and opposes the legalization of illicit drugs as contrary to the best interests of public health. TMA Supports an emphasis on public health solutions as opposed to criminal justice solutions for legal and illegal drug abuse. Support for the positions of the Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy ought not be construed as support for such legislation. Alcohol and tobacco should be included and emphasized in any program to reduce drug use in the United States.
Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy Consensus Statement: Addiction to illegal drugs is a major national problem that creates impaired health, harmful behaviors, and major economic and social burdens. Addiction to illegal drugs is a chronic illness. Addiction treatment requires continuity of care, including acute and follow-up care strategies, management of any relapses, and satisfactory outcome measurements.
We are impressed by the growing body of evidence that enhanced medical and public health approaches are the most effective method of reducing harmful use of illegal drugs. These approaches offer great opportunities to decrease the burden on individuals and communities, particularly when they are integrated into multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches. The current emphasis―on use of the criminal justice system and interdiction to reduce illegal drug use and the harmful effect of illegal drugs―is not adequate to address these problems.
The abuse of tobacco and alcohol also is a critically important national problem. We strongly support efforts to reduce tobacco use, including changes in the regulatory environment and tax policy. Abuse of alcohol causes a substantial burden of disease and antisocial behavior which requires vigorous, widely accessible treatment and prevention programs. Despite the gravity of problems caused by tobacco and alcohol, we are focusing our attention on illicit drugs because of the need for fundamental shift in policy.
As physicians, we believe that (1) it is time for a new emphasis in our national drug policy by substantially refocusing our investment in the prevention and treatment of harmful drug use. This requires reallocating resources toward drug treatment and prevention, utilizing criminal justice procedures which are shown to be effective in reducing supply and demand, and reducing the disabling regulation of addiction treatment programs; (2) concerted efforts to eliminate the stigma associated with the diagnosis and treatment of drug problems are essential. Substance abuse should be accorded parity with other chronic, relapsing conditions insofar as access to care, treatment benefits, and clinical outcomes are concerned; (3) physicians and all other health professionals have a major responsibility to train themselves and their students to be clinically competent in this area; (4) community-based health partnerships are essential to solve these problems; and (5) new research opportunities produced by advances in the understanding of the biological and behavioral aspects of drugs and addiction, as well as research on the outcomes of prevention and treatment programs, should be exploited by expanding investments in research and training (CPH Rep. 5-A-00; amended CPH Rep. 3-A-10).
Last Updated On
October 07, 2016