Opioid Use Disorder Curriculum: Preclerkship Pharmacology Case-Based Learning Session

Date of Review: July, 2023

This resource, from University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, provides a 1-hour case-based learning exercise for first year medical students to introduce medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). It discusses the underlying pharmacologic principles regarding types of opioid use, overuse, overdose management, and chronic treatment options. This curriculum would be an easy and excellent addition to a pharmacology course, after the basic concepts of agonists/partial agonists/antagonists are introduced. It touches on the symptoms of opioid use/overuse and withdrawal (including the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale), as well as the importance of terminology when describing people with substance use disorders and how stigma affects health care quality. It includes a brief slide set with figures for pharmacologic concepts, both a facilitator and student guide, an example exam question (for student assessment post-session), recommended videos on opioids/opioid use disorder and an article about choice of language around addiction. Of note, in my review I do think this could use closer to 90min instead of a 60min limit as proposed, and with the structure of small groups this may require a large number of faculty to execute simultaneously (one physician and one pharmacology faculty per 10-15 students). Following this session, it is recommended by the authors to implement a longitudinal curriculum for ongoing learning to review neurobiology, clinical manifestations, pathophysiology of addiction and withdrawal, co-occuring mental health disorders, community resources, rehabilitation, and public health implications through lectures, OSCEs, etc.  Additionally, given the ever evolving state of medically assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, the treatments will need to be updated for current recommendations.   -Cassandra Smith, DO, NCEAS [Edited by Dr. Ashti Doobay-Persaud]

Corresponding Author’s Email:



University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Where was the Curriculum Implemented:

University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Learner Satisfaction or reaction

Self-reported learner attitude

Measured in learner knowledge

Outcome and Study Design:

Post only

Level of Learner Assessment

Appreciation of content/attitude assessment (self-reflection, blogging with rubric)

Knowledge Application (Case vignette, non-reflective essay)

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