US medical schools expand training to curb painkiller abuse

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Many U.S. medical schools are expanding their training to help students fight opioid abuse.

New training programs at many schools teach students to prescribe opioid painkillers only as a last resort, and to evaluate all patients for signs of drug abuse.

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Schools are taking action after critics said that they have contributed to addiction problems. Health experts say that many physicians prescribe opioid medication too often, and that poor training is to blame.

Under pressure to respond, more than 60 medical schools promised the White House in April that they would train students on new federal guidelines for opioid prescribing.

Answering a call from the governor, all four Massachusetts medical schools are unrolling a standard curriculum on opioids this year. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pushing for a similar effort there.

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