November 5th, the national conference of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Addiction – AMERSA 39th – took place in Washington, DC. With 75% of the 225 delegates being new to the conference, the conference dynamics enlivened. As a rather small association with only 1 FTE, it is doing great in attracting so many new delegates. To see what lectures they got to hear, read my notes from the Keynote speeches below.
There is no room for prosecutors in the delivery room
Dr Paltrow questioned who gets the rights when it comes to pregnant drug users. While the laws in many US states try to protect the unborn child, in reality it is the judge, the county and the attorney who gets the rights. Is this the protection of the unborn or of the system? Dr Paltrow’s mother smoked during pregnancy:
“Maybe if my mom wasn’t smoking throughout her pregnancy, I might have been a for-profit lawyer.”
To reduce the stigmatisation of pregnant women with substance use disorders, make sure to “use the word use” – not Abuse, neither drug-dependent newborn. If you are asked to drug test when you shouldn’t, it is a moral obligation to do civil disobedience. The medical education should include teaching the risks that clinicians carry when they report pregnant women who use drugs.
What is appropriate counselling?
Betty Ford Award Plenary Session at the AMERSA 39th Annual National Conference
“No matter what is the dimension of drinking, the diversity is there.”
If you enjoyed reading about this year’s conference, you may like to read my notes from the previous year, 38th meeting in San Francisco, CA, November 4th, 2014.