Primary Healthcare Settings and Addiction

Primary Healthcare Settings and Addiction

In the past, primary care providers were not trained to deal with patients with substance use disorders. We can all probably imagine the awkward experience of a patient that might be dependent on a drug asking a doctor for a refill, and that doctor making up an excuse in order to not become part of the cycle. Nowadays, we know that the best thing for a doctor to do in that scenario is having a brief discussion about his concerns, explaining that if the patient still needs opiates because of pain, there are ways to deal with that, and if the patient has become dependent on a medication, there are good ways to deal with that as well. Of course, some doctors, in the past, avoided this situation by over-prescribing powerful medications to patients, which endangers the patient. If you are currently dependent on any medication, please visit, as they are one of the best drug rehabs in Florida, and at the time of writing have open beds at their inpatient facility. 

Primary care providers are, in most cases, the first healthcare workers that might sense a problem arising for one of their patients, and the only sensible reaction to that knowledge is to increase training in medical schools for scenarios where a patient may be struggling with addiction. If you are not a doctor, but you think you or a loved one might need substance abuse treatment, please visit for more information on one of the best drug rehabs in Florida. I recently came across an interesting study that recognizes the important role primary care providers play in the care of people with substance use disorders. The study I looked at suggests that dentists have an important role to play in the treatment of substance use disorder. This makes total sense; dentists often prescribe patients, pain killers, after oral surgery. Many people take opiate pain killers for the first time after having wisdom teeth removed, and many people experience anesthesia for the first time at a dentist’s office. For these reasons alone, it makes sense that dentists are trained in the proper ways to deal with patients that may have a substance use disorder or be developing a dependency to a medication. I am not an expert in the way primary care providers should deal with these situations, but luckily, other people have figured out some great ways to train people in substance use disorder (SUD) management. The process is called SBIRT. Screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment. That is considered a currently accepted evidenced-based model for primary care providers to follow. The authors of the study believe that dental schools should engage students with the same approach, and they studied the attitudes of first-year dental students to show where progress might be made through changes in training. Historically, according to this study from the Columbia School of Medicine, SUD was seen as more related to crime, and that fact severely limited treatment options. More recently, the paradigm has shifted to substance abuse as a disease state, which I have covered many times on this blog, and the management of people with SUD is increasingly being left up to the healthcare system, which I believe is totally appropriate. In a new training initiative covered in this study at Columbia, first-year dental students were given a survey on their attitudes on patients with SUD and were given a 90-minute training on SBIRT. 

The ultimate outcome of the study was described in this way, “There was a statistically significant improvement (P < 0.003) in DDS1 attitudes and opinions with respect to whether other patients care suffers because of time and resources spent on patients with SUD and whether the SBIRT training provided adequate education to prepare DDS1 to manage patients with SUD. SBIRT training is relevant to dental education. It fills an important educational gap and is a suitable model for other dental schools.”

As you can see, the dentists and doctors who participated in this study believe in changes to the curriculum at dental schools across the country, and I believe that this is another very positive development for people who care about addiction and those suffering from it. If you are actively searching the treatment options, the best drug rehabs in Florida have programs that can help addicts of all different substances, and the center that I am writing for, Florida Springs, is an amazing place with people who care about the disease of addiction and it’s many victims. Please visit for more information. 

By Tim Cannon 



“Innovations in pre-doctoral dental education: Influencing attitudes and opinions about patients with substance use disorder.” Journal of dental education [J Dent Educ] 2020 May; Vol. 84 (5), pp. 578-585. Date of Electronic Publication: 2020 Feb 05. Retrieved from Inspire Indiana Health and Medicine.