Quality & Science

Editorial Comment 7/14/2020: A Chronicle of Addiction Medicine

by Editor-in-Chief: Dr. William Haning, MD, DFAPA, DFASAM | July 13, 2020

EDITORIAL COMMENT:  A Chronicle of Addiction Medicine

  • The account of important events can be difficult enough in real time.    A national pastime is watching the news and making fun of the various heads that are speaking.   At the same time, we generally reserve a certain amount of sympathy for the difficulty of their vocation, and not merely for their performance anxiety.
  • Apprehending, collecting others’ opinions and viewpoints, and organizing this into a tableau that is both interesting and possibly useful makes the historian’s task arguably more difficult and controversial.  At home I have an early edition of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, completely readable 2 ½ centuries after its publication.  And I must ask how, or perhaps, why? “Why,” because Gibbons had so little material with which to work other than the most raw:  primary sources, diaries written in Greek and Latin; trial documents; gossipy letters exchanged between Roman senators and their friends. And while there may have been plenty of it, little of it could have been easily-accessible.  Stuffed away in monasteries, royal archives, private baronial libraries and in attics yet to be opened for another 2 centuries, those same primary sources might just as well have perished at the hands of Nero.  You get the picture: it wasn’t easy work.
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine has commissioned a history of itself, with oversight provided by a committee of members. The organization has been around under its present name for just 35 years, in a more rudimentary form for twice that, and yet the challenge of the task would seem as daunting as Gibbon’s.  A lot has happened, in 70 years.  You will be kept abreast of its progress, with an anticipated publication date in 2021 and possibly earlier.

- Wm. Haning, MD, DFASAM