A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

New Program Trains Med Students to Treat Addiction


First-in-the-nation program will teach fourth-year students to prescribe mediation-assisted therapy for opioid use disorder.

In the first program of its kind in the country, more than 30 members of the Class of 2018 at the Warren Alpert Medical School will receive the training necessary to prescribe FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders.

The Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) requires physicians to obtain a waiver to prescribe the medications. With the training they receive while in medical school, the students will be able to apply for the waiver once they graduate and receive their full medical license and Drug Enforcement Administration registration.

The state of Rhode Island and the Medical School created the program, outlined in a recent report in the American Journal on Addictions, to increase the number of DATA 2000-waivered physicians who could gain additional experience in treating substance use disorders during residency and provide the access to clinical care. Training for the DATA 2000 waiver typically is not available to doctors until they are practicing.

In future years, the program will extend to the entire Medical School class.

“Not only does the DATA waiver program allow Alpert Medical School students to graduate having met the educational requirements for office-based treatment of opioid use disorder, but it also helps to bring treatment of substance use disorders into mainstream medicine and helps the students develop a greater sense of confidence in their ability to treat the disorder,” says Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and human behavior, chief medical officer at the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), and co-creator of the DATA 2000 waiver program. “All graduating medical students will have received 23 hours of substance use disorders training, which is far in excess of the eight hours required to obtain the DATA 2000 waiver.”

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