university undergraduate level, especially in general psychology, sociology, and biology courses. Additional reviews should also be undertaken of related curricula in departments of social work, rehabilitation, and health education.
Graduate schools offer relatively few courses in substance abuse. A survey of American Psychological Association (APA)-approved graduate programs in clinical psychology, as well as graduate programs in sociology, and pharmacy programs, revealed that students receive only minimal training in drug abuse, although some disciplines are beginning to improve their curricula in the area of addiction. It appears that there are more opportunities for training in drug abuse counseling than in research-oriented programs, and these opportunities are primarily at a less advanced educational level. This lack of attention to addiction research in the curricula at the graduate school level may discourage students who are interested in the field.
The lack of instruction on drug abuse and addiction is a particular problem in medical schools. Less than one percent of curriculum time is spent on drug addiction in medical schools in the United States. The committee believes that the lack of emphasis on this important health and social issue is likely to convey to young medical professionals that this is not an important area of clinical work or research inquiry. Although opportunities in educational and training programs for addiction researchers exist, serious gaps remain. An effective medical training system must be both responsive to the differing needs of individuals at various stages of their careers and provide expertly trained professionals capable of addressing the health consequences related to addiction.
The committee recommends the following:
Accreditation and certifying entities [e.g., Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), American Psychological Association (APA)] should review curricula in medical schools, and in psychology, social work, and nursing departments for the adequacy of drug addiction courses and should require basic competence in these areas for certification and recertification on medical specialty board examinations and in other relevant disciplines;
Deans, administrators, and professional societies should undertake systematic evaluation of existing curricula to assess how they encourage or discourage training in addiction research and develop curricula tailored to different levels of schooling and specialty. Incentives should be provided to recruit and train faculty to teach courses in addiction research and to serve as role models.
Mentors are needed at all stages of research training as well as for different groups of students, such as women and minorities. There is no single strategy