UK HealthCare

UK Physician Helps Develop New Curriculum for Substance Use Disorder Care

Dr. Michelle Lofwall
Dr. Michelle Lofwall holds up a buprenorphine implant, a device used to treat opioid use disorder. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2019) – Dr. Michelle Lofwall, professor of behavioral science and psychiatry in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is one of three national addiction physician experts who led a team of healthcare professionals in developing a new core curriculum designed to educate primary care providers on the prevention, assessment and treatment of substance use disorders (SUD) throughout the continuum of care. 

The new 22-module core curriculum was created by Providers Clinical Support System, a program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The modules explore such topics as screening, stigma, motivational interviewing, alcohol, tobacco, and opioid use disorder, among others. The course provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of SUDs and co-occurring mental disorders for all health professionals.

While the field of medicine is making efforts to provide more training on addiction, the large majority of healthcare professionals have received few hours of education. This curriculum is  meant to provide a foundation of clinically relevant information that will help clinicians better understand, identify and treat substance use disorders and their common comorbordities in their patients.

“Primary care is often the first point of contact for somebody who is struggling with a substance use disorder,” said Lofwall, who is also the and Bell Alcohol and Addictions Chair in the UK College of Medicine. “With the current opioid epidemic, the specialty treatment system can’t handle the volume, nor are the majority of individuals on their own seeking services in specialty care settings. Where they’re initially seeking services is for primary care related complaints.”

The SUD 101 Core Curriculum is free and provides interprofessional continuing education credit. It is accessible online 24/7, can be taken over time or when it is most convenient for the learner.