Russell H. Carter (MD, MBA)
Medical Director

Dr. Carter has had a life-long interest in physical medicine and especially its interplay with psychology.

Dr. Carter has had a life-long interest in physical medicine and especially its interplay with psychology. After graduating from St. George’s School of medicine and a residency in Physical Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he completed a pain management fellowship at Allegheny General/Temple University. In the ensuing five-years, Dr. Carter developed one of the best pain management resumes in Pittsburgh achieving certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties, International Spine Intervention Society, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, and the World Institute of Pain. During this time, Dr. Carter recognized that opioids lacked efficacy and came with great risks. This recognition, combined with the over-use of interventional pain procedures without evidence-based support, caused Dr. Carter to change his focus to the problems created by the use of opioids. Dr. Carter left pain management in 2011 and has since focused full-time on the treatment of addiction. He is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.


Treatment and recovery from substance abuse disorder is a long-term process and the first days of treatment are the most difficult. Therefore, safety and comfort are paramount to effective treatment. If a person cannot make it through the initial stages of recovery, the long-term cannot be addressed. The initial stages of treatment for certain substances are critical. Alcohol and benzodiazepines such as Xanax are dangerous and can be life threatening. With these substances, early treatment must focus on client safety using a weaning protocol to prevent seizures and delirium tremens. For other substances, comfort measures allow an individual to tolerate the symptoms of withdrawal—a period of time in which a person is unable to focus on any treatment. It has been said that detoxification from opioids never killed anyone but a person going through opioid detox may prefer death (or leaving treatment to use) to the adverse symptoms of detox. Much the same can be said of detoxification from other substances. A person withdrawing from stimulants such as crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderall and similar stimulant medications, will likely be very agitated, anxious and irritable. Stimulants can cause hallucinations and delusions similar to schizophrenia. Historically, marijuana was considered to be benign. Today, through selective growth techniques, the plant now contains as much as four to five times the active ingredient, THC, of the 1960s.

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