Media alert: Hazelden's chief medical director available to comment on drug treatment for alcoholics

What: A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the drug naltrexone, when used with specialized behavioral therapy can be an effective treatment for alcohol dependence. The FDA recently approved Vivitrol, an injectable form of naltrexone, and the drug is expected to be available in the United States by the end of June.

Who: Hazelden's chief medical director, Marvin D. Seppala, MD, is available to provide insight on what these recent medical advances mean to individuals dependent on alcohol and other substances and the professionals who treat them. Following is Seppala's topline perspective:

  • Hazelden welcomes information and drugs that allow people dependent on alcohol to get sober and get into recovery, but abstinence in and of it self is not recovery.
  • Anything that will help those who are addicted is good news for them and for those of us who work to provide them the help they need.
  • Medications are a tool that should be used in combination with other treatments that address the full range of physical, psychological and spiritual needs of each individual.
  • The next important issue for drug therapies in treating alcoholism is better defining who specifically should get these medications. Research has not gotten deep enough into those subgroups yet.

As chief medical director, Dr. Seppala oversees medical care throughout all of Hazelden's facilities. His primary responsibilities include promoting addiction medicine practices, leading clinical services and Hazelden's Physicians-in-Residence training program and overseeing special recover programs for addicted health care professionals. Seppala was awarded his MD at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn. in 1984.

He is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Psychiatric Association, past board member of Physicians Serving Physicians and founding member of the Oregon Society of Addiction Medicine.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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