Better medical education: One solution to the opioid crisis
We are in the middle of an overdose crisis in Canada and around the world. Opioid overdose is a complex problem, but opioid addiction can be managed with effective interventions. Nonetheless, many evidence-based interventions are underused, and inadequate medical education is contributing to the problem.
Specialized addiction medicine fellowships for doctors can offer a new and effective way to fight addiction. A recently launched addiction medicine fellowship — at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — promises to change how addiction is taught in medical schools and beyond.
Historically, treatment of addiction has been in the hands of psychiatrists. Most health authorities have not trained doctors in addiction medicine. But training more doctors more efficiently can help to improve diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders. It can also help reduce the public health epidemics that can result from improper prescribing of opioid analgesics – an ongoing problem in North America.
Jan Klimas writes
Tiko Kerr, Vancouver Artist and patient of Dr. Julio Montaner