I treat addiction because as a solo pediatrician for 37 years, I see my kids are dying! I was helpless in the early 1990s with the AIDS epidemic. Now, with the knowledge and scientific advancements, we have the tools to actively address this chronic disease. I am frustrated that at 67 I have stepped up for the past 10 years to do what physicians should be doing. We have the compassion and knowledge to address this problem. Where are my colleagues? I know the fear that physicians feel treating ‘those patients’. But those patients are people with a disease. They are good people with many problems that must be addressed. We can and should be there to treat and help them. We need to take the time to talk to them and learn about their lives and the traumas they have suffered. With a very strong genetic component, what have they experienced growing up? What traumas have and will their children suffer? We must address this to help end the cycle. The medical community needs to educate and advise in MAT as part of their treatment plan. Physicians, we have a job to do! Let’s take over the care from the politicians and the legal system and treat our patients. Our world needs our help NOW!
Dr. Jan Widerman Pediatrician ASAM member since 2012