Letter to the Editor, NYT, February 2016

To the Editor:

Re “For Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research” (Science section, Feb. 23):
We were very pleased to read your article highlighting the work of Dr. Willenbring. As medical and dental students training at institutions across Massachusetts, a state hard-hit by the current opioid epidemic, we are committed to expanding access to the highly effective, evidence-based therapies that physicians like Dr. Willenbring are providing for those struggling with substance abuse. Ensuring that patients are offered proven treatments such as Suboxone and behavioral therapy is a critically important step toward stemming the current epidemic and alleviating untold suffering. We have found, however, that our medical schools provide us with little training on how to implement these treatments, and few of the physicians who can teach us prescribe them. In response to this, we have developed a statewide coalition that seeks to push our medical schools to develop stronger curricula for addiction. We support medical and dental students across the country in demanding increased education and training in providing these validated therapies from their institutions. We want to be a generation of physicians that is equipped to prevent and treat substance abuse.

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