Doctors need adequate training to prevent, treat opioid addiction

The need to educate physicians on the treatment of substance use disorder is a shared responsibility of the medical school, graduate medical education and continuing medical education communities.

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New England Towns Struggle With Opioid And Heroin Epidemic

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain.

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In response to the recent letterOpioid crisis can’t be tackled without better pain management training for doctors,” which stated that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education does not mandate pain education: ACGME believes that physicians should have equal access to the resources and training they need to effectively treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), including behavioral techniques and medication-based therapy.

The need to educate physicians on the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD) — for this and the next generation — is a shared responsibility of the medical school, graduate medical education and continuing medical education communities.

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Effective July 1, 2019, the ACGME required that all programs “provide instruction and experience in pain management if applicable for the specialty including recognition of the signs of addiction.” This requirement directs appropriate residency and fellowship programs to develop evidence-based educational interventions to effectively teach residents and fellows how to prevent substance use disorder wherever possible while effectively treating pain; recognize substance use disorder in its earliest stages; function effectively in systems of care for effective pain relief and substance use disorder; use non-pharmacologic means wherever possible; and participate in clinical trials of new non-opioid pain relief customized to the needs of the clinical disorders of the populations they serve.

On March 30-31, 2021, the ACGME hosted a virtual GME Stakeholder Congress on Preparing Residents and Fellows to Manage Pain and Substance Use Disorder. The Congress brought together experts from across the medical education spectrum with the goal of supporting programs in implementing the requirements. A proceedings paper, recommendations, resources, and presentations from the Congress are available on our website.

Susan White Holub, vice president of communications, ACGME

CNN disservice: Trump doesn’t deserve more exposure

I had to watch the CNN town hall with Donald Trump, not so much to see Trump, but to see how the moderator would challenge Trump over his lies. His entrance was akin to those at his rallies, supporters wildly cheering a man who just hours before was found liable for sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll.

Yet it was only a few minutes in when Trump started spewing the same old lies he is famous for. Any pushback from the moderator just produced more lies. That’s when I changed the channel. Trump does not deserve the exposure or the ratings that both he and CNN desperately seek. CNN has done a huge disservice to its viewers and our country. (As I finish this letter, my wife has also changed the channel.) What rational person would vote for this man? Please explain.

Richard Keslinke, Algonquin

Support local animal shelters on National Pet Week

As this week marks National Pet Week, take some time to appreciate all the furry, affectionate companions in your life. Consider taking them out for a nice walk or bringing them to a routine vet visit. Even if you don’t own pets, one way you can celebrate this occasion is by supporting your local animal shelter.

Unlike many national animal groups, local shelters work tirelessly to house animals in need and place them with loving families. Unfortunately, big organizations like the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) care more about raising money than saving pets. Recent research found that the ASPCA only gives about 2% of its budget to pet shelters — all while sitting on over $500 million in assets. Animal lovers should also know that the ASPCA and HSUS aren’t affiliated with local SPCAs or humane societies.

If you want to best help pets, give locally. And who knows? Perhaps on this National Pet Week, you will choose to save a life and welcome a shelter pet into your family.

Will Coggin, managing director, Help Pet Shelters

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