Over the last several months, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been conducting workshops that include a dramatic reading of Act III of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, to prompt discussions how to incorporate screening and interventions in substance abuse treatment, as well as talk about addicted patients in primary care settings.
They are also exploring the role of individual biases and beliefs about people who abuse drugs and how these beliefs affect physicians in screening and treatment of patients.
The project is part of NIDA's educational outreach to practicing physicians, physicians in training or other health professions. The NIH also has handed out toolkits and informed physicians about possible dialogue with patients under its Addiction Performance Project.
The Addiction Performance Project, a free continuing education program, offers providers the opportunity to gain compassion and understanding for patients. The programs, usually linked with other medical meetings, have attracted more than 1,000 people in Boston, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. this year. Shows are scheduled through 2012.
Gaya Dowling, PhD, deputy chief, science policy branch for the NIDA, says the lack of physician questioning about the drug issue with patients is puzzling, but not surprising.