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Medical schools in Massachusetts to include training programs on opioid abuse

Published On: 07-11-2016 in Category: Drug abuse, opioid addiction

Medical schools in Massachusetts to include training programs on opioid abuse

The opioid epidemic has created a crisis situation in the United States. To combat the rising opioid abuse and overdose and to help people stay away from its misuse, health care providers and law enforcement agencies are taking all possible measures in the form of necessary guidelines.

To make available the much-needed support, many medical schools in the U.S. are including training programs in their existing curriculum as an additional tool for students to fight opioid abuse. The new training programs educate students about the consequences of opioid addiction and the necessity to prescribe prescription painkillers to their patients only when alternative methods of treatment are unavailable or have failed.

In a recent development, all the four medical schools of Massachusetts unveiled a standard curriculum in 2016 regarding opioid use after a call from Governor Charlie Baker. Schools in other states are also pushing for a similar provision based on the new development introduced in Massachusetts’ medical schools.

Stressing on the recent efforts of the medical schools to combat opioid abuse, Tannaz Rasouli, senior director of public policy and strategic outreach for the American Association of Medical Colleges, said, “There’s a sense of urgency to tackle this issue from all fronts, and I think medical schools and teaching hospitals are really committed to doing their part.”

Students evaluate patients for possible signs of opioid abuse

The training programs instruct the students to evaluate all patients for possible signs of opioid abuse. The inclination toward training medical students was seen after medical schools were reprimanded by critics as contributing to the burgeoning opioid addiction problems. Prior researches shed light on the frequency at which doctors prescribed opioids, which revealed high prevalence of opioid prescriptions in doses that are enough to cause addiction, in some patients, and the failure of the doctors in tracking their patients’ history of opioid use.

The aim of all such efforts is to check opioid prescription that has become one of the major causes of opioid epidemic. At Boston University, for example, students are taught alternative ways to manage pain, such as relaxation therapy and breathing exercises.

Critics also put forth that insufficient training on the manner and frequency of prescribing opioids has resulted in the opioid scourge that has crippled parts of America and rendered many families devastated.

Considering the unintentional role of medical practitioners in the rising opioid abuse, Michele Pugnaire, M.D., Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs, said, “There’s a lot at stake here. We have a public health epidemic, and it’s not getting better, and the health care profession is part of the problem.”

The pressure to act in due course of time induced more than 60 medical schools to act under an oath to the White House in April 2015 about training their students in accordance with the new federal guidelines concerning opioid prescription.

Commenting on this, Michael Botticelli, the White House’s drug czar, told media persons in May 2016 that, “We are over 10 years into this epidemic, and I don’t think we’ve seen a robust enough response from the medical community.”

Road to recovery

Studies have revealed that medical students, or even veterinary 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.

If you or your loved one is battling drug addiction, seek medical help immediately. The Boston Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can guide you to the best treatment program that can help you get sober. Chat online with our representative or call us at 857-254-1818 for more information.

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