The Solutions Not Stigmas Act of 2019 (HR 5631) would support the creation and growth of substance abuse prevention, chronic pain management, and addiction treatment training in medical schools and health-related professional schools (e.g., nursing and dentistry schools).
Specifically, the bill would direct the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue grants for the development and implementation of educational curricula on the abovementioned topics.
The curricula established using these grants would have to:
- Emphasize the need to destigmatize addiction and chronic pain;
- Be grounded in evidence-based strategies to strengthen medical providers’ ability to effectively recognize and treat chronic pain and addiction;
- Include information on preventing or intervening in early substance abuse;
- Highlight best practices for using opioids and other potentially addictive medications in pain management; and
- Provide applied clinical training on such topics in the context of both primary care and behavioral health.
All allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, accredited residency or fellowship programs, nursing schools, and other health-related professional schools (e.g., physician assistant or physical therapy education) would be eligible to receive grants under this program. Each institution would only be allowed to apply for a single, three-year grant, totaling no more than $500,000.
To be considered for grants, institutions would be required to submit an application to HHS detailing how the specified curriculum topics would be integrated into their educational programs, and how the institution plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the new curriculum. Schools that submit applications in partnership with education programs for health professionals (e.g., addiction medicine fellowship training programs) would be given priority consideration.