“With one arm around the shoulder of religion and the other around the shoulder of medicine, we might change the world.”—Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AA World Services, Inc (1953). In…Source: Disrupted Physician 101.1: The “Impaired Physician Movement” and the History of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
Reflecting on Lord Acton’s observation that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” the American philosopher Eric Hoffer added that “Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.”
Corruption is a misuse of entrusted power. Derived from the Latin word corruptio (moral decay, wickedness, rottenness), it occurs when those who have been given authority to carry out expected goals instead use their position and power to benefit themselves and others close to them. Abuse of power and trust hidden beneath a veil of benevolence is a particularly odious form of corruption. Ostensible good will provides a guise of legitimacy and deflects outside scrutiny. Perceived altruism provides a smokescreen behind which can hide all manner of duplicity and abuse.
State Physician Health Programs (PHPs) were originally developed by competent and caring physicians to help colleagues who developed problems with addiction or substance abuse. As an alternative to disciplinary action by State Medical Boards they provided a safe haven for sick doctors while also protecting the public from impaired physicians. This image as a humanitarian agency with virtuous organizational purpose has created an absence of the need to guard. Any system can be subverted, but as self-governing organizations with no meaningful transparency, oversight, or regulation and accountable to no one, these organizations were particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
State PHPs have been gradually taken over by the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP). The FSPHP is an arm the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the self-proclaimed “voice of addiction medicine.” A “self-designated” medical specialty, American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) “board certification” not previously recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) it is now in the process of making it so. Through a torrent of propaganda and misinformation as well as butt-loads of cash this illegitimate authority is in the chute for perceived legitimacy. God help us all. By gaining tremendous sway in the field of addiction medicine and advancing the simple-minded chronic relapsing brain-disease model as a platform for a drug testing agenda they have modified and monopolized the field. By cozying up to regulatory boards and politicians they have altered the rules, statutes and regulations to provide immunity, impunity and confidentiality. All of this was done without difficulty or any meaningful opposition. They have swayed legal opinion and successfully tinkered with the system to amend rules and policies. And now they are after you! And unfortunately all we can do now is sit back and watch the whole shit-house go up in flames……
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Well, we could tweet, too. And retweet to media, government and others. We can file complaints to Department of Health and Human Services, the state licensing boards, professional organizations (like NASW, AAMFT), Civil Rights associations, Organizations for Separation of Church and State (AU, FFRF). The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Local, state, and national politicians, State social service organizations. The more people who are aware of the systemic problem, the better… word gets around.
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