For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C., July 9, 2008 – The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) launched an online Substance Use Disorders Curriculum on its Web site, www.aacap.org. The curriculum is an 11-lecture series, created by the AACAP Task Force on Strategic Planning for Substance Abuse Education and Research that provides the latest knowledge on substance dependence, diagnosis, and treatment.
"Substance abuse devastates families," said AACAP President Dr. Robert L. Hendren, D.O. "Luckily, treatment works. This curriculum can empower physicians to offer more effective treatment, thereby empowering families."
An estimated 22 million Americans age 12 and older struggle with substance abuse disorders, according to SAMHSA's Household Survey. Substance abuse can lead to school failure, problems at home, involvement with the juvenile justice system, accidents, and overdoses.
"Substance use commonly co-occurs with mental health disorders, contributing to diagnostic and treatment complexities," said Curriculum Chair Timothy Wilens, M.D.
The AACAP created the curriculum in response to high demand for physician training in identifying and treating adolescent substance use. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a recommendation was made for clinicians who work with adolescents to receive training in substance use assessment during medical school or residency. (See reference at end.) The study also indicated that many pediatricians do not screen adolescents for substance use and even fewer feel comfortable conducting a comprehensive evaluation or providing referrals for treatment.
"Our hope is that the curriculum will help to fill the tremendous gap in physician training in substance abuse diagnosis and treatment," said Dr. Wilens.
eAACAP was created by AACAP President Dr. Robert Hendren's presidential initiative to offer child and adolescent psychiatrists' knowledge base online. To view the new online curriculum and eAACAP online CME programs, "Early Onset Bipolar Disorder: What Those in the Know, Know," and the 2007 and 2008 Psychopharmacology Update, visit the AACAP Web site, www.aacap.org.
In addition to online continuing medical education, AACAP's Web site also offers Facts for Families, a series of concise fact sheets written for the public, which includes information on substance abuse, and a video clip of an expert discussing substance abuse disorder.
To interview a child and adolescent psychiatrist on the new curriculum or on substance abuse, contact Adam Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winters, K, Kaminer, Y. Screening and Assessing Adolescent Substance Use Disorders in Clinical Populations. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008;47:740-744.