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Healthcare Business News

CME program aims to spur drug-abuse discussions with patients

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: April 19, 2011 - 2:00 pm ET

A new continuing medical-education program seeks to help primary-care physicians address drug and alcohol addiction in their patients. Launched by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, the Addiction Performance Project aims to foster physicians' understanding of addiction and ease the stigma associated with substance abuse.

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According to a news release from NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, nearly 90% of the 23.5 million patients who required treatment for drug or alcohol addiction in 2009 did not receive it.

"Primary-care providers can play such a vital role in screening for drug abuse,” NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said in the release. “Yet, for many providers, discussing drug abuse with their patients is beyond their comfort zone."

The CME program is free of charge and features presentations by expert speakers and a guided audience discussion. The next program session will be May 6 in Phoenix.

The project is one component of NIDAMED, NIDA's effort to provide physicians and other healthcare professionals with educational materials and tools needed to identify and treat drug and alcohol addiction.

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