Confronting Addiction from Prevention to Recovery
Each year, the APA President has the privilege of choosing a theme that serves as the guiding principle of the Annual Meeting and its scientific program. The meeting theme helps to both focus the program and create space for special sessions centered around confronting some of the most pressing psychiatric issues of the day.
With that in mind, and given my experience as an addiction psychiatrist, the theme of the 2024 Annual Meeting is “Confronting Addiction from Prevention to Recovery.” I was inspired to create this theme because I wanted to draw on my professional experience, as well as the knowledge, passion and expertise of our membership as we work together to address the impact that substance use disorders have on our patients and more broadly, on society.
We are in a unique moment where we are lucky to have incredible science, research, and tools that can help in the treatment of SUDs. Some of these, like naloxone and buprenorphine for example, can mean the difference between life and death for someone who is struggling with opioid use disorder. The same can be true of treatments like naltrexone, which when made available to a patient and administered correctly can have a life-changing effect on a patient.
Therein lies our challenge. Many of our patients are either unaware or unable to access the treatments I just mentioned and others that can help them manage and overcome the hold that SUD has on their lives. Similarly, many clinicians are hamstrung by regulatory hurdles and legal grey areas that can lead to hesitancy in prescribing treatments that are not only beneficial for a patient, but perfectly legal.
Our mission must be one of education and awareness that these treatments are available, safe and effective when administered correctly, with a particular emphasis on using our expertise as psychiatrists to advocate for a greater investment in the SUD treatment infrastructure in this country.
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Eric Williams, chair of the 2024 Scientific Program Committee, along with his colleagues on the SPC, the program of the 2024 annual meeting seeks to meet that challenge in a way that educates, informs and inspires not only our psychiatrist members, but also our partners in SUD and mental health care. We are lucky to have sessions that will appeal and be useful to psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers, NPs and our other partners equally.
I am so excited to see the meeting take shape, particularly the sessions related to our theme. Attendees will be able to attend sessions that truly cover the full spectrum of addiction medicine, from prevention to recovery, and featuring perspectives from a wide range of presenters. Fostering collaboration between professions and encouraging an open exchange of knowledge and ideas has become one of the hallmarks of the Annual Meeting, and is a necessary component of any discussion about addiction.
I hope you’ll join us in New York this coming Spring for the premier psychiatric event of the year. I am sure we will succeed in connecting our members with other allied professions and serving as source of practical information for members and allies alike, so that we can all work together to confront addiction with maximum effectiveness.
Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A.
- 2023-2024 APA President
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