On April 16, 1998, 25 physician representatives from 11 countries, from North and South America, Europe and Asia, met in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA to develop an international collaboration to promote the role of addiction medicine in addressing the problems of alcohol and drug abuse. At that meeting, they discussed their respective and common needs with regards to this joint effort and considered options for an organizational structure which would allow them to address those needs. The following statement of mission for this initiative emerged in these discussions:
An international collaboration of physicians in addiction medicine can accomplish certain ends, which are not easily achieved in the respective national settings by individual participants. We hope to address the following issues by means of our joint efforts:
- CREDIBILITY OF THE PHYSICIAN’S ROLE
It is essential that sufficient credence be given to the perspective of physicians specializing in addiction in addressing this chronic disease
- MEDICAL EDUCATION
Participants in this endeavor each have important educational roles to play in the training of physicians already in the addiction field and of general physicians as well
- INTERNATIONAL CONSENSUS
There needs to be a credible international group that speaks for physicians in addiction worldwide and promotes further recruitment of physicians in the field in order to lend strength to their efforts in their respective countries.
A medical collaboration will be invaluable in generating and disseminating new research findings in addiction etiology and treatment
Physicians in addiction medicine will together formulate empirically-grounded policies for addressing this illness on the national and international level
- IMPAIRED PROFESSIONALS
It is important that physicians work together to deal with the problem of impairment of health professionals from substance abuse
By virtue of our collaboration, we will be able to play a stronger and more effective role in the prevention of addictive illness and its health and social consequences.