The primary care physician’s role in substance abuse

Cedric Fernando MD

November 18, 2022


Amongst the various aspects of a primary care physician’s role is the primary care physician’s role in treating substance abuse. Currently, there is a lack of national standard quality metrics for these services, and there is a need for a more comprehensive approach to the assessment and treatment of substance abuse.

Motivational interviewing

Whether you are a primary care practitioner, a substance abuse treatment center staff member, or a family member of a person who has substance abuse issues, Motivational Interviewing with the primary care physician is a practical and proven approach to substance abuse treatment. Motivational Interviewing is based on a therapeutic system that uses patient-centered counseling strategies and clinical techniques.

Motivational Interviewing is an approach to counseling that encourages patients to recognize their motivations for change and develop an optimistic approach to recovery. Using Motivational Interviewing, clinicians can elicit more information from patients than they can give.

Long-term residential treatment settings

Providing treatment for patients with substance abuse problems can be frustrating, but it can also be a rewarding experience. Effective treatment involves various strategies and techniques, and a team approach is often the most effective.

In addition to providing treatment, a team approach can help ensure patients get the care they need. These team members should include social workers, behavioral health counselors, and psychiatrists.

The goal of providing treatment is to motivate a patient to seek recovery. A patient-centered relationship can provide an ideal environment for change. During treatment, the physician should offer advice but also show empathy. They should also remind the patient of their responsibility.

In the United States, fewer than 2,500 physicians are board-certified in addiction medicine. This means that the healthcare workforce is insufficient to meet the diverse needs of patients with SUD.

In addition to treating addiction, a physician should be able to recognize signs of a possible relapse. These warning signs can prevent a full-blown relapse.

LINKAGE intervention

LINKAGE is a program that uses a patient activation approach to engage individuals with substance abuse problems with health care. The intervention includes six group-based sessions embedded into outpatient addiction treatment. It includes sessions on overall health behaviors, selecting a primary care physician, and the benefits of working with a health care professional.

It also includes facilitated communication with a primary care physician. The program is also designed to prepare professionals for a team-based approach to health care. It uses an electronic health record to help patients stay on track with their health care. The program includes a facilitated email.

A LINKAGE intervention for substance abuse problems was tested at a single addiction treatment clinic over 30 months. The study compared its impact on staff knowledge, service coordination, and linkage to treatment. Specifically, the intervention was tested on how effectively it improved healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations. It also measured the benefits of a patient activation strategy.

Lack of national standard quality metrics

Increasingly, healthcare providers have begun treating patients with substance abuse problems within their primary care clinics. However, the practice has several challenges. For example, primary care providers may not have access to the specialty treatment services that are often necessary for patients with substance abuse disorders. Also, health plans may restrict the type of treatment that they pay for.

Fortunately, a growing body of research supports medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders. Additionally, primary care providers can consult with addiction treatment experts at hubs in their community. In addition, patients may be screened for substance abuse as a part of their routine examination.

In Oregon, healthcare providers began to focus more on screening for substance use disorders after linking an SBI metric with incentive payments. This accelerated the implementation of SBI practices within primary care clinics. However, some providers were still resistant to the idea. However, internal champions’ presence increased the SBI metric’s acceptance.