The emergency department is the focal point for many social ills, not the least of which is substance abuse. We conducted a study to determine to what degree substance abuse education is taught in emergency medicine residency training programs. A set of educational objectives was developed by a task force composed of representatives of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society of Teachers of Emergency Medicine, and the University Association for Emergency Medicine. A questionnaire then was sent to the directors of all emergency medicine residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to determine the degree to which those objectives are covered in residency training. A 62% response rate was achieved. The data revealed that such topics as narcotic prescription law, patterns of risk, and issues pertaining to substance abuse by physicians were covered by fewer than half of the programs responding. Respondents were generally satisfied with the adequacy of training of residents and faculty in the area of substance abuse; however, they were dissatisfied with the adequacy of available training materials. Recommendations for changes in graduate curriculum as well as avenues for further research are provided.
- substance abuse