Author: Aimee Gogan, Health Professionals and Evaluation Coordinator, NNLM SEA
On any given day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, including prescription pain medication, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Opioid addiction, misuse, and overdose is a national public health crisis with devastating consequences for individuals, communities, and the economy. Health professionals play a vital role in facilitating the proper use of opioids by changing prescribing practices, identifying and treating individuals with opioid dependency, and ensuring that patients and their families are aware of the dangers of opioid misuse. The following educational resources include training and guidance for the safe use of these medications in pain management as well as the identification and care of patients with substance use disorder:
SAMHSA: Opioid Prescribing Courses for Health Care Providers – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funds continuing education courses on prescribing opioids for chronic pain developed by local and state health organizations across the United States. The SAMHSA-supported CME courses are sponsored by the American Academy of Psychiatry (AAAP), the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM), the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
NIDAMED: Medical & Health Professionals – The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides a list of agencies and organizations that provide CE and CME activities on topics related to opioid and substance use disorders and addiction. Topics include opioid overdose, opioid prescribing and pain, and adolescents. Many of the activities are appropriate for a broad health professional audience, while others focus on the roles of distinct professions, such as school nurses, pediatricians, and psychiatrists.
ODPHP: Pathways to Safer Opioid Use – The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) offers a one-hour interactive training that promotes the appropriate, safe, and effective use of opioids to manage chronic pain. The free training is intended for clinicians, public health professionals, and students in health-related fields. CPE and CME credit is available.
CDC: Training for Providers – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers two free educational series that aim to help healthcare providers choose the most effective pain treatment options and improve the safety of opioid prescribing for chronic pain. The interactive training and webinar series both provide content that will assist providers with incorporating and applying the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in clinical settings. CME, CNE, and CEU credit is available for the interactive series. CME, CNE, CEU, CECH, CPE, CPH, and AAVSB/RACE credit is available for the webinar series.
ADA: Continuing Education Webinars – The American Dental Association (ADA) produces four continuing education webinars each year covering the latest techniques for prescribing opioids safely and effectively. The webinars are free and open to members and non-members alike.
ACP: SAFE Opioid Prescribing – The American College of Physicians (ACP) offers the SAFE Opioid Course, which provides guidance for safe and effective pain management when prescribing extended-release (ER) and long-acting (LA) opioids. Upon completing the free program, participants are eligible for CME credit and ABIM Medical Knowledge MOC points.
MMS and NEJM Group: Pain Management CME – In an effort to remove as many barriers as possible to prescriber education, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Group have made a wide variety of free CME activities on pain management and opioid prescribing available. Course topics include legal regulations, palliative care, and pediatric pain management, among several others.
If you know of any other freely accessible continuing education resources for health professionals, please feel free to let me know and we will include them in this list!