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UMMS toxicology expert calls new landmark surgeon general’s addiction report a ‘must-read’

By Sarah Willey and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Medical School Communications

November 17, 2016

UMass Medial School toxicology expert Kavita Babu, MD, says a new blockbuster U.S. surgeon general report calling for a shift in the way America addresses substance addiction lays out a specific roadmap for how the medical community can make further strides in its response to fighting the opioid crisis.

“At UMass Medical School, we have been leading the charge to better train future providers in the prevention and management of opioid abuse through an advanced opioid-safe prescribing curriculum developed following a promise to implement all 10 core competencies recommended by Gov. Charlie Baker’s Medical Education Working Group on Prescription Drug Misuse in November 2015,” said Dr. Babu, associate professor of emergency medicine. “The surgeon general report is a landmark call to action to end this public health crisis, and I believe it will be a catalyst that will prompt further changes.”

The report, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, released by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, is the first report dedicated to tackling addiction. It pulls together the latest information on the health impacts of drug and alcohol misuse, as well as the issues of treatment and prevention. It offers specific suggestions for things that need to happen within the emergency room to make improvements—from adopting universal screenings to the coordination of care among at-risk populations.

“I believe the report could shape the way the medical community tackles addiction in the same way the 1964 U.S. surgeon general report sparked decades of effort to fight smoking,” Babu said.

A year ago, UMass Medical School responded to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s call to address the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. UMMS swiftly revised its curriculum to include the teaching of 10 agreed-upon core competencies for the prevention and management of prescription drug misuse to current students so they would develop strong skills and a foundation of knowledge in the real world.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
Safe-opioid prescribing working group details success in AAMC journal Academic Medicine
Gov. Baker lauds UMass Medical School graduates at 43rd Commencement
UMMS implements curriculum changes in current academic year to address opioid crisis
UMMS working with other Mass. medical schools, governor on opioid prescribing practices
UMMS Graduate School of Nursing adopts opioid conscious curriculum