Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. On this week’s podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Charles Lee Backus, physician at Emmaus Medical & Counseling, about the stigma of ADDICTION, and the misconceptions around addiction medicine.  

“Addiction medicine has been criticized because of some of its treatment modalities, but it’s becoming less scrutinized as people are realizing the need and legitimacy of it.” says Dr. Backus. As our conversation went deeper, so did my understanding of patients with substance abuse disorder. Dr. Backus sees addiction medicine as an opportunity to help someone who is hurting. Listen to the podcast and you will hear the compassion in his voice. He’s on a mission that we all can be a part of.     


  • At its core, addiction isn’t just a social or a moral or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all of these areas. – Dr. Michael Miller 
  • There are so many people who truly want help for their substance use disorder. We all have struggles and dysfunctions, theirs is just different from ours.  
  • Addiction is not a label. There are great people out there that have pain who have been mislabeled. 
  • People who struggle with addiction to prescription drugs feel completely different than those who don’t have an addiction.
  • In the 1700’s, addiction was defined as a brain disorder, not just a psychological, social, moral, or criminal type of problem.  
  • The Society of Addiction Medicine was accepted by the American Medical Association in 1990.
  • People are prone to addiction, or they’re not. Remember, life is not fair. 
  • In addiction medicine, they encourage you to tackle the addiction full on. 
  • Suboxone is a partial agonist, which means it doesn’t give you quite the full effect of an opiate. 
  • Suboxone is not the same as a full on pain medicine or a full on agonist, but it will knock  that off of the receptors. There is a ceiling on it. Less is still best. 
  • You can’t break addiction on your own. 
  • Dr. Backus uses a psycho social model that is all encompassing. It’s not just “here’s your suboxone” and you’re out the door. He looks at everything. His multifaceted approach includes not just medications, but also counseling, peer recovery specialists, patient resource advocates, as well as teaching life skills. (FYI: they write more than just suboxone) 

Addiction is a brain problem, and it’s treatable. The mission at Emmaus Medical & Counseling is “to assist those struggling with substance use disorder, while using positive supportive care towards recovery and purpose. Their goal is to rehabilitate individuals who struggle with addiction. Helping them change is helping to change families, which in turn affects communities in a positive way. 

I will close this Note with a statement from one of Dr. Backus’ patients. “If I could let everyone know one thing about people who struggle with substance use disorder, it would be that they are sorry. They don’t want to be doing what they’re doing.” I can’t thank Dr. Backus enough for having this conversation with me. 

If you know someone who needs help with addiction, please share this podcast or point them to Emmaus, the road to recovery starts here. For locations and services check out their website: emmausmedicalandrecovery.com

Stay healthy. Stay educated.

Till next week. 

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