Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies

Medical Student Attitudes Toward Drug Addiction Policy

Norman G. Hoffmann, PhD;  Albert J. Chang, BS;  David C. Lewis, MD

ABSTRACT. This study explores the attitudes and perceptions of medical students concerning patients with addictions and policy issues related to drugs. Over 1,250 students from 15 medical schools responded to an anonymous survey concerning their experience and training regarding addictions, and their level of support or opposition for various drug policy approaches.
Medical students expressed general support for treatment funding and related demand reduction strategies, but the strength of their support was influenced more by their political orientation than their perception of the effectiveness of the strategy. Students who identified themselves as liberals more strongly favored demand reduction and alternatives strategies such as needle exchange programs and drug courts. Conservatives more strongly favored supply reduction strategies including harsher sanctions for users. Need for additional training in medical school was indicated by the fact that 20% reported no training in addictions.

Journal of Addictive Diseases, 2000, Volume 19, Number 3

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