Opioid overdose prevention in family medicine clerkships: A cera study

Laura Gano, Scott E. Renshaw, Ruben H. Hernandez, Peter F. Cronholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The national opioid crisis requires medical education to develop a proactive response centering on prevention and treatment. Primary care providers (PCPs)—many of whom are family medicine physicians—commonly treat patients on opiates, and write nearly 50% of opioid prescriptions. Despite linkages between PCP opioid prescribing patterns and the associated potential for overdose, little is known about how family medicine clerkship students are trained to prevent opioid overdose, including training on the use of naloxone. This study describes the presence of opioid overdose education at the national level and barriers to inclusion. It also discusses implementation strategies along with instructional methodology and learner evaluation. METHODS: Data were collected as part of a cross-sectional survey administered electronically by the Council of Academic Family Medicine Educational Research Alliance to 139 family medicine clerkship directors. RESULTS: A total of 99 clerkship directors (71.2% response rate) responded to the survey. A large majority (86.4%) agreed that it is important to offer opioid overdose prevention education in the clerkship, yet only 25.8% include this topic. Of these, only 50.0% address naloxone use. The most common barriers to including opioid overdose prevention education were prioritization of educational topics (82.1%) followed by lack of available faculty with sufficient experience/expertise (67.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Findings point to a disparity between perceived importance of opioid overdose prevention education and inclusion of this topic in family medicine clerkship-level medical education. Innovative use of online education and partnering with community resources may address barriers related to curricular prioritization while supporting interprofessional education principles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-701
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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