Free resources on drug abuse and addiction in patients

If your patient was abusing prescription or illicit drugs, would you know? In 2011, 3.1 million people 12 and older reported using an illicit drug for the first time within the past 12 months. This averages to approximately 8,500 initiates per day. Additionally, 6.1 million people 12 and older reported the non-medical use of prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past month.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is interested in improving clinical outcomes by providing science-based resources to clinicians about drug abuse and addiction. To help achieve that goal, NIDA has developed a portfolio of resources called NIDAMED to help clinicians better address drug abuse in their patients.

Available materials include:

  • The NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool: This interactive tool, easily accessible from mobile devices, offers a single-question quick screen to identify patients with recent substance use. If a patient is found to be at risk, the tool provides more in-depth questions about patient drug use. A substance involvement score, generated from patient responses, suggests the level of intervention needed
  • Screening for Drug Use in General Medical Settings: This guide supplements the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool by providing more detailed instructions to clinicians about how to use the tool, discuss screening results, offer brief interventions, make necessary referrals, conduct biological specimen screening, and locate substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Screening Tool Quick Reference Guide: This pocket guide provides an abbreviated version of the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool and instructions on its use
  • Patient Resources: These materials were developed to help clinicians provide patients with information about drug use, addiction, and treatment. Resources include one-page fact sheets about prescription drug abuse, marijuana, and substance abuse treatment options; booklets about the science of addiction, facts about drugs, and tips for finding treatment; posters to help start conversations with at-risk patients about their drug use; an online tool that highlights parenting skills to prevent the initiation and progression of drug use among youth; and a website written in simple, direct language to help readers understand drug abuse, addiction, and treatment
  • Substance Abuse-Related Continuing Education Courses: These two new MedScape courses, which offer up to three CME credits, include video vignettes modeling clinician-patient conversations about the safe and effective use of opioid pain medications. The courses were created to help clinicians understand and address the complex problem of prescription drug abuse
  • Curriculum Resources: This series includes 10 innovative drug abuse and addiction curricula, which were designed to help teach medical students and residents to identify and treat patients struggling with drug abuse and addiction. The resources were created to help fill gaps in current medical education related to both illicit and prescription drug abuse

All resources are available free of charge. If you have questions about any of the NIDAMED resources, contact

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998