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NIDA Brings Evidence-Based Substance Abuse Education to the Web


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is taking its efforts to bridge the gap between physician education and high-quality care of patients with substance use disorders to selected medical schools, and ultimately, to the World Wide Web.

The outreach effort, developed in 2007 and known as NIDAMED, appointed several U.S. medical schools to serve as Centers of Excellence for Physician Information, or COEs. The COEs were charged with developing innovative, evidence-based substance-abuse training resources in easy-to-access formats, which could then be made available to physician education programs nationwide.

Uniform standards for substance-abuse training have long been lacking in U.S., and because of that, educational programs have varied in quality and content. The goal of NIDAMED was to provide both students and educators with evidence-based tools to improve screening and treatment.

In the four years since NIDAMED launched, participating COEs have done just that. State-of-the-science training materials in a variety of formats, including PDF curricula, PowerPoint presentations, and streaming training videos, all developed by faculty experts at Boston University, Harvard, Drexel, and Tufts, among others, are now freely available for download on the NIDA COE website.

Three participating COEs added new training tools in the past month. Boston University posted a module on opioid risk management for residents in internal and family medicine. The University of North Dakota at Grand Forks provided a lecture and supporting slides and handouts on discussing sensitive topics with patients. Creighton University in Omaha uploaded a curriculum for third-year medical students on methamphetamine abuse and treatment.

“Physicians can be the first line of defense against substance abuse and addiction, but they need the resources and the training,” said NIDA director Nora D. Volkow, MD, in an earlier press release about the program.

“Our long term goal is for doctors to incorporate screening for drug use into routine practice like they currently screen for other diseases; to help patients that are abusing to stop; and to refer more serious cases to specialized treatment.”

Medscape Medical News (free sign-in required) outlined the NIDA COE program in a Jan. 25 article.


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