Hospital teaching teams confront iatrogenic opioid addiction

What can hospital teams teach medical students about addiction to help curb the opioid overdose epidemic?

In a new article published by the Substance Abuse journal,  we report findings suggesting that the completion of an elective with a hospital-based Addiction Medicine Consult Team appeared to improve medical trainees’ knowledge which can help routinely establish clinical training teams elsewhere. 


We found that both emerging and established physicians appear to be responsive to this type of training.  The learner self-assessment can provide valuable feedback to the consultants, who can then focus more on the un-improved areas.

The study sample was drawn from medical students, residents and physicians who took part in a month-long rotation with a hospital-based addiction medicine consult team in Vancouver, Canada. Each year, approximately 60 learners go through the programme. Learners are asked to do a before and after self-assessment of their knowledge on addiction. The addiction rotation consisted of 4-12  weeks of full-time clinical training involving intake assessment, treatment planning, referrals to community agencies and starting people on evidence-based medications for substance use disorders. The learners take part in didactic lectures, bedside teaching, journal clubs and some prepare papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals. 

At the end of the learners reported increased knowledge in all but one of the areas of teaching focus, including opioid use disorders;  this increase was statistically significant. These preliminary, first-year results suggest that a structured clinical  training program could lead to an increased knowledge on addiction.

For more info read the full article “Impact of a Brief Addiction Medicine Training Experience on Knowledge Self-assessment among Medical Learners” at: to: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08897077.2017.1296055