Updates on the field of Addiction Medicine

Updates on the field of Addiction Medicine

Ten centers across the country have launched newly accredited fellowships in addiction medicine and will begin this summer, with an initial crop of accredited addiction medicine fellows graduating in July 2012.

“Physicians are often at a loss for what to do about substance use and addiction issues, and may even misdiagnose the problem,” said Dr. Kunz, American Board of Addition Medicine president.

This comes just in time when there is an increasing need for the programs as the nation’s addiction problems, especially those related to prescription drug abuse( pain pills and benzodiazepine addiction), are on the rise. According to new government data, there are more teenagers using opiate pain pills as their first recreational drug used compared to cannabis, more dispensaries are trying to Prevent Selling Cannabis to Minors With These Tips, which has lowered consumption.

“Kids now a days start out playing around with percocets or vicoden before they ever smoke pot” says Ashley Halker, a case worker at INSynergy, a private drug and alcohol program in St. Louis that uses new discoveries to battle the problem of addiction.

“Heroin is a middle class drug now. It’s like how pot was when we were growing up. We see kids from effluent well to do families and private schools shooting up heroin after playing around with pain pills”.

Fortunately, there are now new options that can help people struggling with opiates, heroin, and alcohol. Medications such as suboxone, naltrexone, Chantix, have been developed to address cravings and withdrawals of certain addictions. A monthly injection of naltrexone, Vivitrol, was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment opiate addiction and already has been proven effective in reducing the cravings of alcohol in the worst of alcoholics.

“Without these new medications and advancements in the field, our success rate would be under 10% I’m sure. Most of our clients have numerous treatment failures mainly because they were never offered medications as treatment options” says Halker.

Yet only 23% of publicly funded addiction treatment programs use any of the FDA-approved medications for managing addiction. The results of one study show that fewer than 50% of privately funded addiction treatment programs with access to physicians use medication-assisted treatments. For opioid or alcohol dependence (for which there are a variety of FDA-approved medications), these numbers are just 34% and 24%, respectively.

Stigma and perception that addiction isn’t really a medical illness is usually the barrier.

“Public opinion and even other medical professionals still regard most addictions as flaws in character” says Rick, an Intern studying Addiction Studies.

Advancements in the field with new medications and understanding circuitries involved may be exciting however, at least at INSynergy we understand that there are many forces at work in addiction. Genetics and family influence, mood disorders, impulsivities, cravings, personality structure, and environment. All must be addressed to reassure a decrease in risk of relapse” says Halker.

In 2009, Congress passed legislation addressing insurance discrimination against those with addictions, requiring that private insurance coverage of addiction treatment, when provided, is offered in the same way that all other medical and surgical coverage is provided. “Now that this barrier has been reduced, we want to make sure the evidence-based addiction treatment is available to all who need it,” said Dr. Kunz.

“Years of scientific research have proven drug addiction is a brain disease caused by biological, environmental and developmental factors – a disease which can have far reaching medical consequences. Given the proper training tools, and resources, physicians can be the first line of defense against substance abuse and addiction – identifying drug use early, preventing its escalation to abuse and addiction, and referring patients in need to treatment,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., National Institute of Drug Abuse director.

“I’m so excited that the field of Addiction Medicine is growing at a fast rate in terms of bridging research to the outpatient clinic. New medications, new training programs like the one I’m in, and a changing treatment algorithm for addiction, keeps me interested. However addiction treatment still has an uphill battle in my opinion” says Maria.

Arturo C. Taca, Jr., M.D., FABPN, a psychiatrist based in St. Louis, is among the just over 2,500 physicians in the country certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), an independent medical specialty board. ABAM sets standards for physician education, assesses physicians’ knowledge, and requires and tracks life-long continuing education.








Diplomate- American Board of Addiction Medicine

Diplomate- American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Dr. Taca is a leader in addiction medicine and continues to set benchmarks for the innovative field of medically assisted recovery programs.   Board Certified by both the American Board of Addiction Medicine and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he also carries the distinct honor of serving as a diplomate for both boards.

In addition to his board certifications, Dr. Taca was again voted one of the “Best Doctors of America in Psychiatry” by his peers.   Only 5% of all doctors in the U.S. Are recognized with this distinction and are selected by a consensus of more than one million votes cast by doctors across the country.

As a result of his expertise in the field of addiction medicine, Dr. Taca regularly delivers lectures on topics like the biology of addiction and cutting edge medical treatments to local and national organizations.

Before INSynergy, Dr. Taca established the very popular Integrated Neuro-Science Program and served as the Medical Director of Assisted Recovery Centers of America (ARCA) where he developed programs that led to higher standards of addiction treatment.  He completed his psychiatric residency training at St. Louis University where he was the Chief Resident of the Department of Psychiatry.   He is currently a clinical instructor and continues to teach and supervise Psychiatric, Internal Medicine, and Transitional Medical residents at the St. Louis University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.



Our innovative program incorporates FDA approved anti-craving medication, counseling, psychiatric and psychological services. INSynergy brings together biological (genetics), psychological (mental and emotional) and clinical (patient observation) models of addiction medicine in a way where results are more long lasting and robust.

INSynergy Treatment Center, based in St. Louis, Mo., is the premier alcohol and drug rehabilitation program  in the Midwest that provides a highly confidential, innovative and novel,  approach combining pharmaceutical therapy and counseling with minimal disruption to patients’ busy lifestyles. Services range from anti-craving medications and detoxification to individual, family, marriage, and group therapy sessions. INSynergy also addresses the psychological and psychiatric issues that lead to addictive behaviors such as ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Bullet points.

  • An alternative to traditional 12-Step, AA based, programs.
  • A modern day approach which utilizes FDA approved anti-craving medications.
  • Immediate detox as outpatient.
  • Addresses psychiatric conditions.
  • Individual, group, family, and marriage counseling included in program.
  • No disruptions in professional or academic life.
  • Highly Confidential.
  • Treatment is affordable, practical, local, and effective.

For more information please visit insynergystl.com or call 314-649-7867 to schedule a free, no obligation, evaluation, with our staff.

11477 Olde Cabin Rd Suite 210

Creve Coeur, MO 63141