Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Equips Future Physicians for the Opioid Crisis
Newly-revised curriculum teaches and trains future medical doctors
to fully address the ongoing epidemic

NEWARK, NJ – January 8, 2018 -- To prepare future physicians to practice safe and effective pain management in their practices and simultaneously address the opioid crisis, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) has taken a forward-looking approach in its updated curriculum.

NJMS is one of the first medical schools in the United States to provide all of its medical students with the training required by the Drug Abuse Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment. All graduating NJMS medical students will be trained and eligible for the necessary waiver required by licensing boards to prescribe this effective medication. As trained NJMS students move on to practice, access to treatment for patients suffering from opioid use disorders will increase.

Opioids kill approximately 142 Americans every day and yet the vast majority (80%) of opioid-addicted persons do not receive treatment. Historically the management of patients with opioid use disorders was relegated to methadone clinics and experts in addiction medicine such as psychiatrists. It is now possible for physicians (qualified by modest additional training) to prescribe FDA-approved medications such as buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder from their office-based practices or other venues, regardless of specialty.

A cross-disciplinary workgroup of experts teamed-up to develop a comprehensive list of 14 core competencies in pain management and analgesic prescribing, identifying what every graduating NJMS medical student is expected to know. The didactics include sessions that address the opioid epidemic in a historical context, pain management and its public health impact, alternative treatments for acute and chronic pain, safe opioid prescribing, the screening of patients for substance use disorder, and the management of substance use disorder as a chronic disease.

Rutgers NJMS Pain Management and Analgesic Prescribing Curriculum Workgroup was led by Sangeeta Lamba, MD, Associate Dean of Education; Lewis Nelson, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine; and Petros Levounis, MD, Chair of Psychiatry. Other workgroup faculty experts in medical toxicology, addiction medicine, and pain management included: Lindsay Fox, MD; Erin Zerbo, MD; Andrew Kaufman, MD; and student Pravin Matthew (NJMS ’20).

For more information about the curriculum at NJMS, please visit the Office of Education, the Department of Psychiatry, and the Department of Emergency Medicine.

About Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Founded in 1954, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the oldest school of medicine in the state.  Today it is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and graduates approximately 170 physicians a year. In addition to providing the MD degree, the school offers MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MBA degrees through collaborations with other institutions of higher education. Dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care and community outreach, the medical school comprises 22 academic departments and works with several healthcare partners, including its principal teaching hospital, The University Hospital. Its faculty consists of numerous world-renowned scientists and many of the region’s “top doctors.” Home to the nation’s oldest student-run clinic, New Jersey Medical School hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, including the Public Health Research Institute Center, the Global Tuberculosis Institute and the Neurological Institute of New Jersey. For more information please visit: