Curriculum survey of substance abuse teaching
Substance abuse is the leading cause of preventable death in our society. In this project we surveyed the faculty at one university medical school to describe the substance abuse curriculum. We employed a two-stage mail survey: of 1340 surveys mailed, 754 (56%) were returned, and 231 faculty reported addressing substance abuse in their teaching of medical students. A 39 item second survey was sent to the 231 faculty who teach substance abuse, and 143 (62%) surveys were returned. Substance abuse teaching occurred during all four years of medical school across many clinical departments. Alcohol was discussed most frequently (by 82% of respondants), followed by cocaine (54%), nicotine (48%), and opiates (47%) (p<.001). Alcohol was addressed by 85% of psychiatrists, 55% of family practioners, 45% of internists, 45% of surgeons, and 35% of pediatricians. Nicotine was addressed by 70% of familiy practitioners, 55% of surgeons, 45% of psychiatrists, 40% of internists, 25% of pediatricians. Cocaine was addressed by 90% of surgeons, 70% of psychiatrists, 60% of pediatricians, 50% of internists, and 35% of family practitioners. The content of substance abuse teaching most frequently included the medical complications of substances of abuse, followed by substance abuse behaviors, diagnosis, assessment, treatment ; only 25% of respondants addressed prevention of substance abuse. We surveyed the medical faculty at one university medical center and found substance abuse teaching occurring in many departments. Academic internists should heighten their awareness of substance abuse in their teaching of medical students.
Westman, EC; Stein, R; Puckett, A
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