Getting more primary care providers involved may help integrate mental and physical health with substance use disorder treatment, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Managing the full breadth of health issues in someone with substance use disorder could help reduce the likelihood of a bad outcome, especially in the 40% of people who have both mental health issues and substance abuse. Eric Strain, a substance use disorders expert at Johns Hopkins, says beginning with full primary care integration would be a good start.

Strain: The fact of the matter is we’ve got a substantial number of kids with ADHD who are getting treatment from their pediatrician, we have a substantial proportion of adults with garden variety major depression who get antidepressants from their primary care physician, we need to look at a system where the relatively straightforward conditions that can be treated by primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, providers like that, can be cared for in those settings so our specialty services can care for the more complicated people.  :31

Strain says such integration needs to begin with education of providers and patients. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.