New Service Matches Clinicians with Mentors to Help Treat Patients’ Substance Abuse
A free nationwide service has been launched to help primary care providers who are looking for help in identifying and advising substance-abusing patients. Medical News Today reports that the Physician Clinical Support System for Primary Care (PCSS-P) provides peer-to-peer mentorship and resources on incorporating screening and follow-up into regular patient care.
The service is known as a “warm line” instead of a “hotline” because doctors and other health care providers receive a response within 24 hours instead of immediately. Providers register with the service and receive the contact information of a mentor who specializes in screening, brief intervention, treatment and referral for patients who have substance abuse problems. The providers can contact the mentors via phone or email with specific questions. PCSS-P is a project of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
NIDA also launched an online interactive single-question screen to help health care providers identify patients with potential substance-abuse issues. The screen asks, “In the past year, how many times have you used the following: alcohol (more than 4 or 5 drinks in a day for women or men, respectively); tobacco products; prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons; and illegal drugs?” If the answer indicates a potential substance abuse issue, the provider can conduct NIDA’s full screening tool for the specific substance.