(AMERSA) promotes postgraduate medical education on drug addiction through curriculum development and national meetings.

Recommendations

The committee recommends that:

  • All treatment professionals should have some knowledge of basic neuroscience and how alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs work on brain pathways, influence behavior, and interact with diverse conditions. Treatment professionals should include physicians, nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers, drug abuse peer counselors, and other health care providers who work in conjunction with one another in treating patients with an addictive disease;

  • Continuing education courses to update treatment professionals' knowledge base on addiction should be instituted systematically and widely; and

  • Competence-based documentation of treatment professionals' knowledge base on addiction should be sought in licensing and recertification examinations.

CONCLUSION

A number of strategies are necessary to attract talented students into the field of addiction research. Incorporation of additional information about the process of addiction in precollege and undergraduate science classes, for example, may not only interest young people planning a research or medical career but it can also increase public understanding of addiction. The challenge in graduate and medical school programs is to increase the amount of information presented in a variety of ways, including course work, clinical experiences, research fellowship opportunities, and other mechanisms. Throughout the educational experience, however, mentors and role models provide often critical input in the career decisions of talented young people. Thus, ways to develop and enhance teachers and mentors with expertise in addiction research would be very useful long-term strategies. Finally, increased attention to addiction in medical specialty board examinations and other professional certification programs is needed to foster a greater understanding of addiction by professionals leading eventually to integration of the diagnosis and treatment of addiction into general medical and primary health care settings.



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