Despite a scientific history spanning barely five decades, the field of alcohol and drugs is now a legitimate medical subspecialty. The conceptual base is developing, evidence-based approaches are being used, and more effective interventions are now available.1 With the first adoption of a scientific perspective came the development of more rigorous diagnosis and several robust screening questionnaires, which have proved valuable in research but are not yet widely used in clinical practice. Progress has been made in improving detection rates and in providing interventions for at-risk patients. Now, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians is establishing a Chapter of Addiction Medicine, reflecting the growing scientific base of the alcohol and drug field and paving the way for future expansion.
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