Finally! The Need for Physicians Substance Abuse Training in the News
Posted Jan 19 2011 9:52am
by Lisa Frederiksen
I was thrilled to read Join Together’s January 18, 2011, News Summary, “Physician Substance Abuse Training ‘Inadequate,’ Experts Say.” The following are the recommendations cited by the referenced paper’s lead author, Patrick O’Connor, M.D., chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine at Yale, who was also quoted as saying, “Despite the fact that the substance use is responsible for an enormous burden of disease in their patients, and evidence-based screening approaches have been developed, physicians often fail to identify and treat substance abuse routinely.”
raise the priority for substance abuse education (give it the same importance as training for other chronic diseases);
enhance faculty development (accrediting organizations should require faculty expertise in addiction medicine);
provide organizational infrastructure (put specific faculty and departments in charge of substance abuse education — preferably, a multidisciplinary team);
integrate core competencies into resident training (epidemiology, screening, assessment, intervention, and pharmacological management); and
make substance abuse screening and management routine in primary care.
This is wonderful news and indicative of what seems to finally be a shift in how we prevent, understand, intervene, talk about and treat substance misuse. As this goes forward, we must not forget to also include similar efforts on behalf of the family and friends of the substance misuser — the people who experience secondhand drinking/drugging impacts.