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Dr. Charles Shaw: Meet the 'Drug Doc'

BY CHARLES SHAW Modified: June 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm •  Published: May 18, 2011
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1961 and interned at St. John’s in Tulsa for a year. After a one-year Family Practice Residency in Pineville, La., at Huey P. Long Charity Hospital, I began practice in Moore in 1963, with OB and some surgery.

Because of my own alcoholism, I went for treatment in Atlanta and have been happily sober in AA for 27 years. Because of my own problem, I became very interested in addiction medicine. I became board-certified in addiction in 1988 and in 1989 moved to Arizona.

In 1990, I became director of St. Luke’s Chemical Dependency Unit (35 beds) in Phoenix and remained there for 10 years. I semi-retired in 2000, but in 2002 moved to Show Low, Ariz., where I was director of chemical dependency at the Community Counseling Center and Hospital.

In 2008, I moved back to Oklahoma City to be near family. I am on staff at St. Anthony South Detox Center. Since I returned, I have been accepted as a fellow, American Society of Addiction Medicine; and member of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

So, let's get started.

Addiction – What is it exactly? Is there a cure? How does a person know they may be addicted?

These questions are asked all too often by family members and friends of a person who is having a “problem” with drugs or alcohol.

First of all, people need to understand that the AMA (American Medical Association) declared in 1954 that alcoholism and drug dependency needed to be accepted as a disease. What is a disease? Simply, any disorder that can affect the human body, which if not treated, will result in death. This holds true in diabetes, heart failure and many other common diseases, but also holds true in addiction such as alcoholism, meth dependency and opiate dependency.

We have all head the excuses of the alcoholic – “I can quit any time I want to,” or “I don’t drink that much.

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