PNWU in Yakima implementing opioid addiction precautions into cu - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PNWU in Yakima implementing opioid addiction precautions into curriculum

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YAKIMA, WA - Right now, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences is using the opioid crisis as a precaution in its curriculum.

Professors are using the need to prevent painkiller addiction in their teaching so medical students learn to interpret pain in a more precise manner and prescribe alternative medicine to opioids.

Dr. Marc Cote, Chief of Internal Medicine and PNWU, says the opioid crisis has gained national attention from the DEA and FDA, and that addressing the issue must come from multiple directions.

"We try to impress [on] the students, and when we go to speak at conferences, is to, rather than just go for medication right away, look at modalities," he explains. "First, do a really in-depth assessment of the patient. It's what's really happening with to the patient beyond just the pain."

Dr. Cote says some factors that need to go into prescribing pain medication include family history, stress, and sleeping patterns. Students are learning to examine those contributions and prescribe other painkillers besides going straight to opioids.

Because Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences is a newer school, they say they are lucky to implement these practices and precautions so early in their curriculum, and believe other medical schools are starting to do the same.

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