NEC Members Join White House to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Several New England Council members are joining forces with the White House to take steps to curb the opioid epidemic in New England and the United States. The medical schools at NEC members Boston University, Tufts University, and the University of New England are among several schools across the country that are adding prescriber education requirements to their curriculums.

Prior to the White House announcement, medical school staff from BU and Tufts, as well as NEC members Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts, had worked with state officials in Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Medical Society to determine what they could do to fight opioid addiction. They developed a list of 10 competencies for prescribing opioid painkillers that all the schools will include in their curricula starting this year. Those competencies include appropriately evaluating a patient’s pain, identifying signs of substance abuse or addiction, and recognizing personal and societal stigmas around addiction. The schools will incorporate these competencies into their curricula in a variety of settings, including lectures, simulations, and special seminars. By teaching medical students more about substance abuse, educators and public health officials hope that they will be able to stop what many see as rampant over prescription of opioids.

“We previously provided a curriculum that emphasized preventing and treating addiction,” said Karen Antman, Dean of the BU School of Medicine and provost of the Medical Campus. “Now we have integrated the 10 competencies over the four years of our curriculum. We are responding to provide a stronger foundation for tomorrow’s physicians and scientists.”

“These educational standards represent an innovative and forward-thinking contribution to the state’s multifaceted strategy to curb the opioid epidemic,” added Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker at an event announcing the new standards.

The New England Council applauds the new steps that several of our members are taking to end the opioid epidemic and keep New England healthy.

Read more on the White House website.

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