Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse

About the Program

Combating today’s opioid epidemic is not just about treating addiction. Prevention is the first step in ensuring the safety of your patients and reducing our nation’s overdose death rate.

As future prescribers, you will see patients experiencing pain and possibly addiction. This course was designed to help prepare you to safely and effectively address your patients’ needs through the use of opioids and/or other treatment modalities.

Through the materials below, you will learn about:

  • Overcoming clinical bias
  • Navigating difficult conversations with patients
  • Educating patients on risks and responsibilities of opioid use

PAs actively working in the fields of pain management, substance use disorder (SUD), and psychiatry developed this program content and presented the material at PA programs across the country. Their experience and expertise provide valuable insight into how to safely prescribe opioids in the real world. Click below to learn more about these faculty members.

Each of the tools below covers a different element of safe opioid prescribing. They may be watched in any order but have been arranged in our suggested viewing sequence.

The Landscape of the Opioid Crisis

Learn the basics of prescription opioids and how patterns of overprescribing have contributed to the current opioid crisis

Making the Treatment Decision

Justine Samanas, PA-C, explores factors to consider when treating a patient’s pain, including whether or not to prescribe opioids.

A Conversation about Cognitive Bias in Medicine

Jerry Erickson, PA-C, and Jill Mattingly, PA-C, discuss how different cognitive biases can impact the way healthcare providers treat patients. Special thanks to fellow faculty member Laura A. Katers, PA-C, for her contribution to the discussion and script development.

Important Patient Provider Conversations when Prescribing Opioids

Become familiar with some of the important conversations you need to have with your patients if they are or will be taking prescription medications.

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Vital Minds Podcast: Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse

Laura Katers, PA-C, speaks with host James Millward, PA-C, about how to safely reduce opioid prescribing while still addressing a patient’s pain and quality of life.

The simulation program below was created by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). It can be used to learn and practice safe prescribing techniques through simulated case scenarios.

Created by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This training program will help students apply what they have learned about safe prescribing and put it to use in simulated role-play scenarios. Its content is based on the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention and encourages safe and effective opioid prescribing. It may be played multiple times with a variety of different avatars.

How Much Do You Know About the Opioid Crisis?

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Can You Recognize Common Street Names for These Prescription Opioids?

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  1. CDC – Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
  2. SAMHSA – Opioid Overdose Toolkit
  3. ASAM – Pain Management and Opioids: Balancing Risks and Benefits Course
  4. ASAM – National Practice Guideline
  5. NIDA – Opioid Crisis and Pain Management
  6. NIDA – Transitioning Patients from Opioid Therapy
  7. PA Foundation SUD Programs
  8. PA Prescribing Authority by State
  9. SCOPE of Pain CME Training
  10. Allied Against Opioid Abuse
  11. SAMHSA – FAQs About the New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines (updated 9/21/21)

Questions about this guide? Contact the PA Foundation

The PA Foundation produced and is solely responsible for the content of this program. This project was funded through a grant by The AmerisourceBergen Foundation. Special thanks to the presenters and the coordinating team of the PA Foundation: Joanna Weston, MPH, project manager; Caroline Pierce, communications and program manager; Lynette Sappe-Watkins, CFRE, executive director.