Physicians work in a variety of medical settings, and often may work in a team with other health providers. Physician Assistants work with physicians and have certain prescribing responsibilities.
Basic knowledge of addictions, plus medication-assisted treatment, detoxification, recovery support.
Physicians can practice independently, in a group practice or in a larger medical setting (clinic or hospital).
Some physicians specialize in addiction medicine, but many non-specialists are integrating simple screening and brief intervention techniques into their practice in order to identify risky behaviors and intervene. This kind of integration is a key part of trends in the health care industry to provide integrated and coordinated services for treatment of the whole person. Many medical practices are integrating primary care, addiction and mental health services. Non-specialists should have a basic understanding of addiction, particularly related to the potential for addiction of any drugs they prescribe and how to screen for addiction in their patients.
Physicians may provide physical care and/or psychiatric care related to addictions. They may also provide specialized Medication-Assisted Treatment through Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programs, or becoming buprenorphine providers. See Opportunities for Advancement below for more information.
- Undergraduate degree and completion of Medical School as well as a residency.
- A residency in Addiction Medicine became available in 2011.
- An Adult Psychiatry Residency can also provide a specialization in addiction.
Choose a medical school which is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for medical schools and a regional accreditation association, such as (for medical schools in New England) the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Undergraduate schools should also be accredited by a regional accreditation association.
Find an accredited Residency through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA), also has resources.
For a Physician, the license to practice medicine is supplemented by board certification in a specialty. Board certification in addiction medicine is governed by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). Examination is offered by ABAM on December 1 ever other year. A Physician certified by ABAM is board certified.
Board certification is also provided by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).
For requirements to practice in Massachusetts, see the Board of Registration in Medicine.
Physicians who are interested in becoming buprenorphine providers can find information through
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s CSAT Buprenorphine Information Center and Medication-Assisted Treatment
- American Society of Addiction Medicine
- American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
- In Massachusetts, a special opportunity for Physicians lies in Office-Based Opioid Treatment. Doctors oversee Nurse Managers who direct the office-based administration of buprenorphine therapy in a special project. Contact Colleen Labelle for more information.
- Prescriber Clinical Support System website for Opioid Therapies and its Resources on Medications for Opioid Use Disorder.
For physicians who are interested in providing a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, information is available from
- American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD)
- SAMHSA's Division of Pharmacologic Therapies' Methadone Treatment Program Accreditation information
- Physician's Clinical Support System - Resources for Opioid and Medication Assisted Treatment. Mentoring available.
- Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program - Boston Medical Center/Boston University Medical School
- Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship Program - Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital
- Chief Resident Immersion Training Program - Boston University Medical School
- General Internal Medicine Fellowship - Boston University - research on substance abuse for faculty and community practitioners
- American Society of Addiction Medicine's Career Center
- American Psychiatry Association (APA)'s Job Central
- American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry's Jobs & Fellowships, Area Resources (Area I is comprised of CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT), and Education/Training Opportunities
- See the Massachusetts Chapter of ASAM and find contacts here.