Interest already has been brisk in a Harvard Medical School course on the opioid crisis that is geared to the general public but also could have significant applicability to clinical professionals.
Introduced on March 27, the free seven-hour course The Opioid Crisis in America had attracted more than 7,500 registrants as of Thursday, with significant interest outside the U.S. as well. Harvard is offering the course through the HarvardX learning platform and is in the process of certifying it for continuing education credit for a number of professional groups.
Organizers of the self-paced course believe that some of its information in areas such as brain science and medication treatments for opioid dependence will help broaden clinical professionals' knowledge, and they add that professionals also could help distill the course's information for their patients.
The general public remains the primary audience for the course, which features video presentation from addiction specialists, other professionals, and individuals with an addiction history. The course is not intended to deliver medical advice.
“We produce information for the public, and we like to focus on topic areas that affect large parts of the population, topics within public health,” Gregory Curfman, MD, editor in chief of Harvard Health Publications at Harvard Medical School, tells Addiction Professional.
The course, which will be offered live for a year, covers a full range of subjects related to opioids, from their appropriate use to their misuse, the issue of opioid overdose, and medication and therapeutic approaches. The course also addresses the individual, family, community and system issues that affect recovery, says Catherine Finn, LCSW, deputy editor at Harvard Health Publications.
As of this week, registrants from more than 100 countries had signed up for the course. The median age of registrants is 32, and there are twice as many women as men enrolling.
Finn will be in attendance at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta April 17-20, and invites those attending the event to connect with her about the opioid course. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.