Author Addresses Addiction as Wrap-up to IPE

December 21, 2015

This term’s Interprofessional Education wrap-up included presentations by Dallas Gay, the Community Co-Chair of the Medical Association of Georgia’s (MAG) “Think About It” Campaign, and “Addiction on Trial” author Steven Kassels, MD. A team of students won the video competition, while leaders from the Georgia Composite Medical Board, the MAG Foundation, the Georgia Pharmacy Association and SAMHSA were in attendance.


“Addiction on Trial” author Steven Kassels, MD, spoke to students, faculty and staff members recently as the culmination of this year’s Interprofessional Education (IPE) work on campus. In addition, Medical Association of Georgia Foundation member Dallas Gay addressed the issue of prescription drug abuse and the foundation’s “Think About it” campaign.

With the assistance of Dr. Kassels, a curriculum was designed for this term which explored the psycho social and ethical issues affiliated with addiction using the framework of his book. In addition, student teams created video projects on the topics of substance abuse, mental health, diversity and/or ethics.

According to Dr. Kassels the annual cost to society for drug and alcohol addiction-related issues is $400 billion which includes crime, health care and lost worker productivity. “You can pay now or you can pay later, but you’re going to pay,” he noted. The disease affects all socio-economic groups. “We’ve tried to cut supply for years,” he said, “but it has not worked. We also need to cut the demand.” He added, “We as Americans have a desire to take away the pain, and physicians need to be more cognizant of best prescribing practices for pain medications.” Interestingly, he noted that the war in Afghanistan has contributed to an increased world-wide supply of heroin as Afghan farmers returned to growing opium when the Taliban’s subsidy for growing food crops ended.

Dr. Kassels believes that the gateway drugs to heroin include opiates, alcohol and marijuana and that physicians and pharmacists have an obligation to monitor usage. He encouraged students to screen, intervene and refer to treatment when they are practicing providers.

Interprofessional Education is part of the mandated curriculum for medical and pharmacy schools. Co-chairs of GA-PCOM’s IPE team include Bonnie Buxton, PhD, assistant dean of curriculum; Jennifer Elliott, PharmD, assistant professor, pharmacy practice; Paula Gregory, DO, assistant dean of clinical education; and Sara Wilson Reece, PharmD, vice chair, department of pharmacy practice.  



Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) is a private, not-for-profit branch campus of the fully accredited Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a multi-program institution of educational excellence founded in 1899. GA-PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. The campus, located in Suwanee, Georgia, is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit or call 678-225-7500.


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