Home > Undergraduate medical education in substance use in Ireland: a review of the literature and discussion paper.

O’Brien, S and Cullen, Walter (2011) Undergraduate medical education in substance use in Ireland: a review of the literature and discussion paper. Irish Journal of Medical Science , 180 , (4) , pp. 787-792.

Background
Medical complications of substance use are a considerable cause of morbidity and the role of the physician in the care of such problems has consistently been demonstrated. Appropriate knowledge and skills are necessary to carry out this role.

Aims
To review the literature on training undergraduate medical students in identifying and managing substance misuse and to discuss the implications of this literature for Irish medical education.

Methods
A search of the literature was performed using keywords; ‘substance-related disorders’, ‘undergraduate’ and ‘curriculum’. All abstracts were reviewed and the full text of relevant abstracts was studied and references reviewed for further articles.

Results
Despite an increase in prevalence of the problem of drug and alcohol use in Ireland and the UK, this has not been reflected in undergraduate medical curricula. In the UK, minimal time is devoted to formal teaching of medical undergraduates in the area of substance misuse and many doctors do not have the appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes and confidence to treat patients with such problems. In Ireland, no data has reported formal undergraduate teaching hours in the area of drug and alcohol misuse. Internationally, substance abuse curricula have been developed and implemented in medical schools in the United States and Australia.

Conclusion
While substance misuse is increasing in prevalence, this is not reflected in the composition of medical curricula, especially in Ireland. International best practice whereby undergraduate curricula that adequately address substance misuse and related issues are systematically developed and implemented, is recommended for adoption by Irish medical schools.

 

Item Type:Article
Date:2011
Page Range:pp. 787-792
Publisher:Springer
Volume:180
Number:4
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Not in collection)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
B Substances > Drugs and alcohol in general
T Demographic characteristics > Doctor
N Communication, information and education > Education by subject > Substance use education
T Demographic characteristics > Undergraduate or graduate student

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