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Practicing Medicine Providing Care Preventing Drug and Substance Use Disorders

Preventing Drug and Substance Use Disorders

Safe prescribing

Early intervention is key to preventing substance use disorders

The AOA partners with the National Institute on Drug Abuse to provide physician resources for combating substance use disorders in adolescents and adults.

In the past year, 8.4% of Americans over age 12 have suffered from a substance use disorder, according to a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

People often begin to abuse drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, during their teen and young adult years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Reaching out to adolescents about substance use early could help them prevent developing a substance use disorder (SUD) later in life.

To help physicians, the AOA has partnered with NIDA on its NIDAMED project, which provides tools and resources to assist DOs with caring for their patients.

Online CME course: Teen drug abuse

An estimated 1 in 20 teens has a substance use disorder, but research indicates that early interventions can achieve positive outcomes—and many teens actually want physicians to bring up sensitive topics like drug abuse. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Coalition of Health Care Providers on Adolescent Substance Abuse to create a two-part online CME course on teen prescription drug abuse. Each part is worth up to 0.5 AOA Category 1-B CME credits, for a possible total of 1.0 Category 1-B credits if you complete both parts successfully.

Part 1       Part 2

Each part of the course features brief videos of clinicians offering helpful insights and strategies for identifying and addressing substance abuse in teen patients. Addiction experts recommend asking teen patients about substance use at each clinical visit.

In the spotlight: Science to Medicine series

In this series, Science to Medicine: Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, NIDAMED interviewed Marla Kushner, DO, and five other health care providers about the key steps they took to successfully integrate medication treatment into their practice setting. The settings range from emergency medicine to a pediatric/adolescent setting.

Dr. Kushner offers the perspective of treating opioid use disorder in a primary care setting. She serves as medical director of New Hope Recovery Center in Chicago where she has treated opioid addiction with medication.

Science to Medicine also offers a brief overview of the latest science across several practice settings. The science, combined with the featured clinicians’ key steps and additional resources, can help you implement medication treatment for opioid use disorder into your practice.

Additional resources to help address substance use disorder


The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers science-based resources for medical and health professionals on treatment, prevention, and clinical trials.

AOA CME courses
  • To take action against the opioid crisis, the AOA joined forces with the CO*RE Collaborative to provide healthcare professionals with CME on pain management and safer opioid prescribing. Learn more.
  • Adolescent Substance Use and Rx Medication Misuse is a free on-demand course jointly provided by the AOA and NIDA. The two-part course aims to help medical professionals navigate confidentiality in discussions with their teen patients about substance use by offering tips and talking points for patients at all risk levels.
CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids

Review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain for the latest clinical practice guidelines.

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