Original Publication
Open Access

Prescription Drug Abuse: An Introduction

Published: November 22, 2010 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8160

Included in this publication:

  • Facilitators Guide.pdf
  • Prescription Drug Abuse Presentation.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Education in substance use disorders remains inadequate in medical training curricula. Although it is a growing health problem, prescription drug abuse is specifically addressed even less comprehensively. This curriculum module provides an overview of prescription drug abuse framed within the common clinical scenario of chronic pain management in the outpatient setting. It is targeted toward resident physicians in internal medicine and family medicine and also toward medical students on clinical rotations. The information may also be adapted for training of pediatric residents, particularly those who care for patients most at risk for chronic pain, such as those with sickle cell anemia or chronic bone and joint problems. The module consists of a 2-hour lecture and accompanying slide-show presentation, with detailed lecture notes that allow the lecturer to explain more fully the information contained in each slide, as well as a faculty guide focused on implementation. This module was piloted in a noon lecture targeting first-, second-, and third-year internal medicine residents, as well as with medical students rotating on the inpatient internal medicine service. Evaluations completed by attendees noted increased confidence in their ability to select patients with chronic pain for long-term opioid therapy, manage patients on long-term opioids, and identify and manage patients with prescription drug abuse.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Have increased awareness of the problem of prescription drug abuse.
  2. Discuss psychosocial and medical issues associated with pharmacologic management of chronic pain.
  3. Develop a framework for safe prescribing practices and seeking consultation with faculty preceptors to aid in assessment and management.

Author Information

  • Daniel Alford, MD, MPH: Boston University School of Medicine
  • Angela Jackson, MD: Boston University School of Medicine
  • Jane Liebschutz, MD, MPH: Boston University School of Medicine
  • Benjamin Siegel, MD: Boston University School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Alford D, Jackson A, Liebschutz J, Siegel B. Prescription drug abuse: an introduction. MedEdPORTAL. 2010;6:8160. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.8160