MCMSPhysicianSpring2017 - 22
mon t m e d s o c .c om
When the Healer Needs Healing:
A Physician's Journey from
Addiction to Recovery
BY TOYCA WILLIAMS, DEPUTY EDITOR, MCMS PHYSICIAN
Join MCMS Physicians, Friends and Family for
Its Annual Membership Dinner on June 6.
here are few communities
immune from the national
public health crisis of opioid
abuse and addiction. A national
spotlight shines bright on an
epidemic public health officials call
the worst drug crisis in American
history, killing more than 33,000
people in 2015.
That spotlight shines even closer
to home for Steven Allen, DO, an
interventional radiologist and venous
medicine specialist in Huntingdon
Valley. Dr. Allen, who has practiced medicine for 38 years, will
share his story of opioid addiction and his road to recovery at
the Montgomery County Medical Society (MCMS) Annual
Membership Dinner, June 6, William Penn Inn, Gwynedd.
With the help of the Physicians' Health Program (PHP) of the
Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Dr. Allen has
been in recovery for almost 6 years.
"My story is not unique and what happened to me can
happen to anybody," said Dr. Allen, who finds that sharing his
story helps him to stay strong in his recovery. "I was a pretty
straight-forward guy who was involved in my profession, my
community and my family. Unfortunately, at the time, I became
overwhelmed with my situation that involved my health and
family. I suspect many people can relate to this."
During those very challenging times, Dr. Allen said he used
opioids and then alcohol to mask the pain. In 2013, he was
faced with the death of his son who was a heroin addict. He
said he suspects his son knew he was dealing with similar issues.
"I am grateful to the PHP program and the medical
society," he said. "Addiction is terrifying and I am thankful I
had a safe place to turn to get help."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), more people died from drug overdoses
in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug
overdose deaths (more than six out of 10) involved opioids.
Ninety-one Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
As a physician, Dr. Allen knows all too well that
prescription opioid medications serve an effective role in pain
management. However, a growing abuse of these drugs has
reached epidemic proportions in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania
physicians are fortunate to have PHP in time of crisis.
PHP provides support and advocacy to physicians
struggling with addiction or mental challenges. It is funded
by grants and contributions from physicians, hospitals, and
others interested in physician health issues. Starting as a
volunteer-based impaired physician program in 1970, it is
now one of the largest and most fully developed physicians'
health programs in the country. For more information about
PHP, visit www.foundationpamedsoc.org.
To attend the dinner, register at www.montmedsoc@
verizon.net or call MCMS, (610) 878-9530.
Honoring the Physicians Who Have Nurtured
in the Trenches for 50 Years
During the Annual Membership Dinner, MCMS will also
recognize eight physicians who have practiced medicine
for 50 years and posthumously honor the work of William
W. Lander MD. For more than 60 years, Dr. Lander, a past
MCMS president and board member and past president of
the Pennsylvania Medical Society, nurtured the Montgomery
community and diligently advocated
for his patients, this community
and organized medicine. MCMS
will recognize the medical student
scholarship recipient and honor
Dr. Lander by renaming the
medical student scholarship after
him. MCMS will, also, recognize
a primary care physician who
embodies Dr. Landers's dedication,
leadership and professionalism so
many grew to respect and admire.
M C M S P H Y S I C I A N 22 S P R I N G 2 0 1 7
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