The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) just launched an outreach program that includes an online screening tool and other resources for physicians. Called NIDAMED, the program aims to educate doctors around screening patients for drug use in order to identify problems before they turn into full-blown addiction. Doctors often cite lack of time with patients, not enough training around substance abuse and addiction, as well as the absence of good screening tools as reasons for not catching drug or alcohol use and abuse early on.
According to NIDA director Nora Volkow. “NIDAMED enables physicians to be the first line of defense against substance abuse and addiction and to increase awareness of the impact of substance use on a patient’s overall health.”
Early screening and prevention strategies like these can be a cost-effective way to reduce health care costs for all of us. Hopefully we’ll see more docs adopt these screening practices in their every day visits with patients.