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New tools from NIDA help diagnose and treat drug abuse

substance abuse.jpg

Talking to patients about substance use can be challenging for doctors. To provide medical students and new physicians with the necessary skills to effectively screen for substance abuse and treat patient addiction, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently launched a series of training tools.

Developed as part of NIDA's Centers of Excellence Program, the curriculum includes lectures and problem-based case studies covering a wide range of addiction. One particularly interesting resource is an interactive tutorial featuring interviews with former drug users and a simulated discussion with a patient who is using chronic back pain to mask drug addiction.

NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, MD, explained in a release how the tools could improve patient care:

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.

Photo by Amanda M Hatfield

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