Enhanced Skills Program: Addiction Medicine Program Goals and Objectives

The overall purpose of the Addiction Medicine Program is to train the resident to have the clinical expertise to assess and manage and treat patients with substance use issues. As a result, the physician will then be able to be a resource to the community both as a clinician but also in areas such as education and research in the field of addiction medicine.

Medical Expert:

1. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of a patient with suspected substance dependence, including:

  • Take a complete alcohol and drug history
  • Assess for co-morbid psychiatric conditions
  • Identify medical complications of substance dependence, including gastrointestinal, neurological and infectious complications.
  • Identify psychosocial problems that may affect treatment and recovery
  • Order laboratory investigations to confirm substance abuse
  • Diagnose substance use and substance-induced disorders using DSM-IV criteria
  • Develop a comprehensive management plan addressing treatment of the substance use disorder and medical and psychiatric complications.

2. Provide counselling for addicted individuals based on the principles of motivational interviewing

3. Provide both outpatient and inpatient medical management of withdrawal from the following substances: alcohol, opiates, nicotine, benzodiazepines, GHB, cocaine, and barbiturates

4. Using evidence-based recommendations, provide physicians with appropriate advice and recommendations regarding the use of opioids for chronic pain

5. Initiate appropriate pharmacotherapy for drug dependence when indicated

6. Initiate and provide ongoing care for patients on agonist maintenance therapy (methadone, buprenorphine).

7. Provide prenatal care for pregnant patients with substance abuse problems


1. Comfortable establishing professional relationships with patients with addictions

2. Competent in the use of motivational interviewing techniques in the management of patients with addictions

3. Familiar with short-term counselling approaches in the treatment of patients with addictions


1. Function effectively in a multidisciplinary team to provide high quality care to individuals with substance use disorders, and these members would include working with clerical staff, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and psychiatrists


1. Familiar with a wide range of local addiction resources including withdrawal management centres, treatment programs, specialized assessment and treatment centres, self help groups

Health Advocate:

1. Able to provide specialized addiction consultations to local health providers both within the hospital and the local community

2. Encouraged to advocate for those with addictions within the health care system as well as for their needs within the community


1. Capable of providing teaching to other physicians and students in the field of addiction medicine

2. Familiar with salient research in the field of addiction medicine and to keep up to date with new information


1. Committed to giving the best treatment and treating the patients with good ethical practice to a population that often can be difficult to manage and resistant to change