Richard Saitz

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Chair, Department of Community Health Sciences

Expertise:
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Education:

MD, Boston University
MPH (Quantitative Methods), Harvard University
BA (Medical Sciences), Boston University

Contact Info:

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Dr. Saitz is a primary care internist, certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine, and Addiction Medicine, and a health services researcher. He directs the Division of Clinical Research Resources for the BUMC Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. Dr. Saitz is additionally the recently appointed Chair of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of… Read more

Dr. Saitz is a primary care internist, certified by the American Boards of Internal Medicine, and Addiction Medicine, and a health services researcher. He directs the Division of Clinical Research Resources for the BUMC Clinical Translational Sciences Institute. Dr. Saitz is additionally the recently appointed Chair of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.

His primary areas of expertise and research are screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol and drug use, integrating substance-related and general health care (e.g., chronic disease/care management), and improving the quality of care for people with addictions across the spectrum of use particularly in general medical care settings.

He is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed publications, past President of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse and former Chairman of the BUMC Institutional Review Board.  He is a current member of the international Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.  His research has been supported by NIH, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the SAMHSA CSAP and CSAT.

In the Media

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  • ‘Cold Turkey’ Alcohol Withdrawal Can Cause Serious Health Issues

    July 20, 2017

    Healthline quoting Richard Saitz, School of Public Health “The death of actor Nelsan Ellis this month is a reminder of the serious, and potentially fatal effects of alcohol withdrawal on the body…” Expert quote: “Quitting can be done safely and is safer than continuing to drink heavily.” View full article. 

  • In drunken-driving cases, Melanie’s Law is rarely used

    April 18, 2017

    Boston Globe Richard Saitz, School of Medicine “Cassandra Schutt pleaded for justice for her father, killed by a driver whose blood-alcohol level was 0.25, more than three times the legal limit…” Expert quote: “For some reason, probably because drinking is so ingrained and normal in our culture, society takes its harms less seriously,” he said. […]

  • How We Doctors Are Failing Our Patients Who Drink Too Much

    April 5, 2017

    WBUR Richard Saitz, School of Public Health The middle-aged man in my exam room wasn’t an alcoholic… Expert quote: “In fact, the majority of people who screen positive for unhealthy alcohol use will not meet criteria for addiction, says Richard Saitz, chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of […]

  • Some struggling with heroin leave Delaware to get help

    May 22, 2016

    The News Journal Richard Saitz, School of Public Health Experts say addiction must be treated like the disease it it, with changes coming from insurance companies, communities and more… Expert quote: “No one would choose addiction. Even if the first use is a choice, repeated use leads to brain changes that reduce the capacity to […]

  • Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller And Heroin Addiction?

    April 26, 2016

    Associated Press Richard Saitz, School of Public Health The growing number of patients who claim marijuana helped them drop their painkiller habit has intrigued lawmakers and emboldened advocates, who are pushing for cannabis as a treatment for the abuse of opioids and illegal narcotics like heroin, as well as an alternative to painkillers… Expert quote: “We […]

  • Father Says Saugus Store Display Promotes Excessive College Drinking

    August 30, 2015

    WBZ-TV Ch. 4 Richard Saitz, School of Public Health A Saugus father says he is disgusted with a department store’s back to school displays that he says target college students and encourage them to drink… View full article and video of expert Richard Saitz

  • LETTERS: Real evidence is needed before we extol alcohol’s benefits

    September 13, 2014

    Boston Globe (subscription required) By Richard Saitz, School of Medicine With his Sept. 10 op-ed column, Jeff Jacoby asks, “Why can’t alcohol labels tout benefits?” Here’s why… View full article by expert Richard Saitz

  • Priorities in addiction treatment bill debated

    July 29, 2014

    Boston Globe (subscription required) Richard Saitz, School of Medicine Paul Kusiak calls it “our family’s personal 9/11.” His two sons, four years apart in age, both started struggling with opioid addiction a decade ago. At the same time, Kusiak faced another bruising fight: getting insurance to pay for his sons’ medical care… Expert quote: “You […]

  • Does marijuana make it harder to quit other drugs?

    June 27, 2014

    Futurity News Richard Saitz, School of Public Health Because marijuana stimulates reward areas in the brain, people who smoke marijuana may find it more difficult to stop using other drugs and alcohol, a new study suggests. Researchers say the findings point to the possibility that addressing marijuana use during addiction treatment could improve treatment outcomes… Expert […]

  • To Beat Heroin Addiction, A Turn To Coaches

    June 13, 2014

    WBUR “CommonHealth” Richard Saitz, School of Public Health Two young men sit in a car outside a church or union hall where they just attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Both men are addicted to heroin. But they haven’t used the drug since they finished a residential treatment program a week or so earlier… Expert quote: […]

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