Addiction medicine now recognized as a subspecialty: 6 things to know

The American Board of Medical Specialties has recognized addiction medicine as a new subspecialty.

Here are six things to know about addiction medicine and this recent decision.

1. Addiction medicine is defined as "the prevention of the risky use of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications and other licit and illicit drugs, and the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease of addiction and related health conditions."  

2. The application for the new field was sponsored by the American Board of Preventive Medicine, a member board of ABMS.

3. With the new recognition, physicians certified by any member board of the ABMS can become certified in addiction medicine.

4. The American Board of Preventive Medicine will determine the new certification and maintenance of certification requirements for physicians entering the new subspecialty. Updates will be posted to the ABAM website.

5. Additionally, the Addiction Medicine Foundation has supported the establishment of 40 addiction medicine fellowship training programs to date, and is committed to establishing a total of 125 fellowship programs by 2025, according to a news release.

6. Robert J. Sokol, MD, president of ABAM and The Addiction Medicine Foundation, formerly The ABAM Foundation, spoke positively of the decision to recognize addiction medicine as a subspecialty. "This is a great day for addiction medicine," he said in a prepared statement. "This landmark event, more than any other, recognizes addiction as a preventable and treatable disease, helping to shed the stigma that has long plagued it. It sends a strong message to the public that American medicine is committed to providing expert care for this disease and services designed to prevent the risky substance use that precedes it."


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