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Medical schools in Massachusetts come up with new curriculum to fight drug addiction

Published On: 09-01-2016 in Category: addiction, Treatment


Drug addiction has become a deadly disease in America, with an increasing number of people from different walks of life and various regions, including rural and suburban areas, falling prey to it. In the wake of the drug menace, the Massachusetts government announced in August 2016 that medical schools in the state will revamp their curriculum by initiating a training program on drug addiction prevention and pain management for aspiring doctors and nurses.

Until recently, only Tufts University in Boston offered a course on addiction medication, but now, all the four medical schools in the state, including UMass Medical School, will incorporate the new curriculum in their medical courses.

State Governor Charlie Baker has also helped in developing the program under which aspiring doctors and nurses will be trained on how to tackle medical emergencies involving drug addiction. Known as the Medical Education Working Group on Prescription Drug Misuse, the program is a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As part of the program, they have also prepared a set of competencies for nearly 3,000 medical students who graduate from the state’s medical schools.

The new set of core competencies will enable doctors to evaluate the patients’ pain condition and their vulnerability to suffer from substance use disorders. Thus, the idea is to unify the law in Massachusetts that witnessed more than 1,500 deaths involving prescription drug or heroin abuse in 2015.

Baker recently told the 22News, “We’re going to be fortunate enough to have students who will graduate who go out into programs that, in some respects, will be teaching up to many of their colleagues on the clinical side.”

Opioid abuse problem getting worse

Lately, opioid abuse in Massachusetts has seen a sharp rise, with people seeking pain medications either to relieve chronic pain, and getting addicted to drugs like Oxycontin, or to get a high. Moreover, an easy availability of heroin in the market has also added to the woes, say experts.

Studies have revealed that medical students in the U.S. devote less time on learning how to treat pain than their counterparts in other countries. As per reports, the trend is the same even at top schools like Harvard where students say they don’t get enough training on ways to treat pain. The need of the hour is a multi-pronged approach, since addiction is a chronic disease that is difficult to treat. Apart from professional expertise, a complete recovery plan requires a patient’s willingness and desire to be treated.

Taking a step forward

Amid rising overdose deaths, there is a sense of urgency from all quarters to deal with the grave situation and medical schools are definitely doing their bit. The initiative taken by the governor of Massachusetts to develop standardized course material for opioids and addiction in medical schools is encouraging other states to toe a similar line. In fact, a lot of schools have been offered grants to devise methods to screen people for drug addiction.

If you or your loved one is battling drug addiction, you may contact the Boston Drug Treatment and Rehab Center to know about the best treatment program that can help you get sober. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 857-254-1818 or chat online with our representatives for more information.

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