Military Medical School Addresses Opioid Epidemic by Incorporating Joint Pain Education Into Curriculum

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The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the USU this week announced the addition of a new pain management program that incorporates joint pain education into its curriculum
The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the USU this week announced the addition of a new pain management program that incorporates joint pain education into its curriculum

The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) on Wednesday announced the addition of a new pain management program that incorporates joint pain education into its curriculum in an attempt to curb opioid abuse among service members.

There were 18 893 deaths involving prescription opioids in the United States in 2014, up 16% from 2013. Treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), outpatients receiving opioids increased by nearly 77% from 2004 to 2014.

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"The Joint Pain Education Program integrated into the USU curriculum follows more than 5 years of close work with the VA, and federal and civilian pain experts through the USU Defense & Veterans Center for Integrated Pain Management (DVCIPM)," retired Army Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier, MD, DVCIPM program director said in a statement. "We are very proud of this work and immensely pleased that our own university is the first adopter of this valuable program."

USU's pain management curriculum focuses on standardized pain care practices by teaching clinical pain assessment, pain assessment tools, pharmacologic and psychological approaches to pain management, and behavioral management of chronic pain. It also promotes evidence-based alternative modalities for chronic pain management and pain as it relates to specific pain conditions, as well as substance use disorder.

Attempting to standardize pain management curriculum in the United States, this program is a collaborative effort between the VA and Department of Defense.

Additionally, beginning in fall 2016, USU will require its students to take some form of prescriber education in order to graduate.

The White House yesterday introduced new public and private initiatives directed at curbing opioid and heroin abuse across the country, including expanding access to treatment, increasing public health-public safety partnerships, and investing in community policy to address rise in heroin.

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