If you’re a medical student considering specializing in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, know that you’ve chosen an area of medicine where there is an already alarming and increasing need. Consider these statistics:
- In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older – a figure that reflects 9.4 percent of the population – had used an illicit drug in the prior month.
- That same year, 6.5 million Americans aged 12 or older had used prescription drugs non-medically in the prior month. These drugs included pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives.
- Also that year, 1.3 million Americans had used hallucinogens in the prior month.
- Between 2010 and 2015, methamphetamine use had risen from 353,000 users to 595,000.
- In 2013, 30.2 percent of men and 16 percent of women 12 and older reported binge drinking in the prior month, and 9.5 percent of men and 3.3 percent of women reported heavy alcohol use.
Despite an estimated 22.7 million Americans (8.6 percent) needing treatment for a drug- or alcohol-related problem in 2013, only about 2.5 million people (0.9 percent) received treatment at a specialty facility. These statistics, along with the growing opioid addiction crisis, are prompting medical schools nationwide to offer or require more numerous and intense lessons, courses, programs and clinical rotations in drug and alcohol addiction, including prescription drug addictions arising from over-prescribed pain management medication.
Leading the nation in training future doctors in substance abuse are medical school programs that incorporate behavioral science, treatment and prevention techniques for patients with addictions. Here are the top US medical schools for such programs, as ranked by US News & World Report:
- Harvard University, Boston, MA
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
- Yale University, New Haven, CT
- Columbia University, New York, NY
- University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
- University of Pennsylvania-Perelman, Philadelphia, PA
- University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA
- New York University-Langone, New York, NY
- University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
- Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Substance abuse can cause an array of potentially fatal health woes. We here at WOLFPACC applaud progressive efforts by medical schools to help curb drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. Find out how we can help you better prepare for the rigors of medical school and your future practice. Call 904-209-3140 to talk with an enrollment specialist today.