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Introduction: Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a significant US health problem affecting roughly 20 million Americans, but there continues to be limited access to SUD treatment and inadequate addiction medicine training. Therefore, it is important to understand how SUD education is being delivered to US health professionals, including pharmacists.

Methods: A recent survey of US pharmacy programs' neuropsychiatry curricula was evaluated to identify any progress made toward increasing SUD education since the last national survey in 2004 and determine any remaining gaps between what is currently being taught and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) curricular guidelines for SUD education updated in 2010. A survey of psychiatric pharmacists, regarding what they thought should be taught, was also evaluated and compared with the 2010 AACP curricular guidelines.

Results: Our survey of US pharmacy programs demonstrated that 94% of programs reported teaching SUD content in 2014-15, which has increased from 81% reported in a survey study from 2004. There was also an increase for average hours of SUD didactic instruction, which increased from 2.2 hours in 2004 to 2.7 hours in 2015. The majority of members (84%) recommended at least 2 hours of SUD instruction, and 27% recommended teaching ≥4 hours.

Discussion: There was an overall increase in SUD instruction, but the average hours taught still falls short of 2010 AACP curricular guideline recommendation suggesting ≥4 hours. Furthermore, a majority of the psychiatric pharmacists we surveyed did not agree with the AACP curricular guideline recommendation because only 27% of members recommended ≥4 hours of SUD instruction, and the average hours recommended was only 2.7 hours.

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Originally published in the Mental Health Clinician, 8(1), 14-17. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0. The original material can be found here.