Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse in Special Patient Populations

About the Program

This curriculum focuses on preventing prescription opioid misuse in special patient populations. With mounting evidence about the pathways to prescription opioid misuse, we focus on introducing students and professionals to the subtleties of opioid misuse prevention in the following patient populations:

  1. Patients in the LGBTQ+ community
  2. Youth and young adult surgical patients
  3. Palliative and hospice care patients
  4. Pain patients in opioid use disorder (OUD) recovery

Through these resources, students will:

  • Understand the realities of opioids and opioid use disorder
  • Recognize the unique vulnerabilities of special patient populations
  • Learn to be patient-centered in their efforts to prevent prescription opioid misuse among special patient populations
  • Identify the cause of their patient’s pain and prioritize treating for function
  • Appreciate the importance of building a trusting, respectful relationship with their patients

Meet the Faculty

Practicing PAs with expertise in OUD, pain management, and each of our special patient populations developed this content and have presented the material to PA programs across the country. Their experience and expertise provide valuable insight into preventing prescription opioid misuse among patients in vulnerable populations. Click below to learn more about these faculty members.

Physician associate/physician assistant Deborah Dunn headshot

Deborah Dunn

Chase Brexton Health Care

Physician associate/physician assistant Hoa Luong headshot

Hoa “Kevin” Luong

University of Pittsburgh

Physician associate/physician assistant Jeffrey Myers headshot

Jeffrey Myers

Oregon Health & Science University

Physician associate/physician assistant Brittany Stokes headshot

Brittany Stokes

University of Maryland, Baltimore


Each of the videos below explores a different element of preventing prescription opioid misuse in special populations. They may be watched in any order and at your own pace.

Interactive Presentation: Special Patient Populations

This interactive module provides background information on four special patient populations, outlines their risk factors for prescription opioid misuse, dispels myths and misconceptions, and offers strategies to improve outcomes. Answer quiz questions to test your knowledge!

Provider Perspectives:
Pain, OUD, and Special Patient Populations

Hear from PAs working across populations and specialties about their experiences with pain, OUD, and supporting vulnerable patients.

Reflections on Recovery: Matt’s Story

Arianna Campbell, PA-C, speaks with PA student Matthew Rump about his personal experience with substance use disorder (SUD) and how it has shaped his outlook as a future provider.

Vital Minds Podcast: The Role of Peer Support Specialists in Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse

Rich Bottner, PA-C, and Jessi Davis of the National Association of Peer Supporters share insights on how peer support specialists can help patients and providers navigate challenging situations and reduce the risk of prescription opioid misuse.

Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care for Patients in OUD Recovery

How do you provide pain relief to a palliative or hospice care patient who is also in recovery from OUD? Jeff Myers, PA-C, and Kevin Luong, PA-C, share their experiences caring for these particularly vulnerable patients.

Treating Pain in Young LGBTQ+ Patients

Deborah Dunn, PA-C, and Brittany Stokes, PA-C, discuss the ways in which young LGBTQ+ patients are uniquely at risk for prescription opioid misuse and how providers can best support these populations.

Preventing Opioid Misuse in Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care

This animated video discusses some common misconceptions about how to use (or not use) opioids for pain relief in palliative and hospice medicine.

Downloadable Materials

Questions about this program? 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, senior manager, communications and programs; and Lynette Sappe-Watkins, CFRE, executive director.