In the United States, nearly twenty million people suffer from substance abuse and addiction, yet more than 95% of patients are unaware of their condition and are therefore not receiving appropriate treatment. As a result of an initiative by the American Medical Association, starting next year, any physician, not just substance abuse specialists such as psychiatrists, will be able to give their patients a questionnaire which will assist in identifying a substance-abuse problem. These primary care physicians can immediately intervene and offer options for treatment. The codes utilized for billing insurers have also been updated to recognize the specialized treatment being provided by internists and family practitioners to combat this significant problem. This entire process will hopefully help to increase the number of patients receiving treatment.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.