Medical students’ knowledge about alcohol and drug problems: results of the medical council of Canada examination.
PURPOSE: To determine knowledge of a national sample of medical students about substance withdrawal, screening and early intervention, medical and psychiatric complications of addiction, and treatment options.
METHODS: Based on learning objectives developed by medical faculty, twenty-two questions on addictions were included in the 1998 Canadian licensing examination.
RESULTS: The exam was written by 858 medical students. The average score on the addiction questions was 64%.
- Students showed strong knowledge of the clinical features of medical complications.
Specific knowledge gaps were identified for
- withdrawal treatment protocols,
- low-risk drinking guidelines,
- taking an alcohol history,
- substance-induced psychiatric disorders, and
- Alcoholics Anonymous.
CONCLUSION: Medical students are knowledge-deficient around key learning objectives in addictions. The deficiencies were in areas of basic knowledge that could be learnt with little difficulty.