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Grant Will Help UNE Train Its Medical Students To Treat Opioid Use Disorders

Medical students at the University of New England will get training in how to treat opioid use disorders.  UNE education coordinator Jenifer Van Deusen says the school will use a $450,000 state grant to bolster its current training on substance abuse and offer a course that certifies students to provide medication-assisted treatment as soon as they begin their residencies.

"Improving our curriculum and having this course under their belt will set up our next generation of physicians and physician assistants to provide more compassionate and evidence-based care," Van Deusen  said Tuesday.

Van Deusen said about 175 medical students graduate annually from UNE, and they will need a broad understanding of addiction medicine regardless of the specialty they choose.

"It's very important for us to make sure that our graduates are ready, willing and able to understand substance use disorders writ large - and opioid use disorder in particular - so that they can begin to do their part in particular in stemming this public health emergency," she said.

Van Deussen said the course will likely be optional this year, and become a requirement beginning in the next school year.  The grant is from the state Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.