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A 2012 report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University compared the current state of addiction medicine to general medicine in the early 1900s, when quacks worked alongside graduates of leading medical schools.
The American Medical Association estimates that out of nearly 1 million doctors in the United States, only 582 identify themselves as addiction specialists.
The program instructs members to surrender their ego, accept that they are “powerless” over booze, make amends to those they’ve wronged, and pray.
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He’s also a worrier—a big one—who for years used alcohol to soothe his anxiety. He favored gin and whiskey but drank whatever he thought his parents would miss the least.
He discovered beer, too, and loved the earthy, bitter taste on his tongue when he took his first cold sip.
But it has taken on new urgency with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all insurers and state Medicaid programs to pay for alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, extending coverage to 32 million Americans who did not previously have it and providing a higher level of coverage for an additional 30 million.
Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science.
He’s a fast talker and has the lean, sinewy build of a distance runner.