Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, Nov. 17 released a report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, which studies the science behind substance use and addiction, as well as a review of prevention and treatment programs and policies. The report also provides recommendations to prevent and treat substance use disorders and to improve recovery.
In addition to community-based prevention programs and increasing access to services, the report discusses policy changes that would impact medical school curricula, noting “[F]ederal and state policies should require or incentivize medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, and other clinical professional schools to provide mandatory courses to properly equip young health care professionals to address substance misuse and related health consequence.”
A total of 69 medical schools signed a statement the AAMC released on March 29, highlighting how “academic medical centers across the country are actively developing robust curricula to train today’s medical students about the threats posed by prescription drugs.”
This report is among several actions the administration has taken this year to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic. For example, the administration March 29 announced that 35 AAMC-member medical schools and 26 schools of osteopathic medicine have agreed to “require their students to take some form of prescriber education, in line with the newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids in Chronic Pain” [see Washington Highlights, March 18].