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Opioid Safe Use and Management icon

Opioids: Safe Use and Management

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Learning Objectives

  • Describe the scope of non-medical use of opioids, overdose, and opioid use disorder in the United States
  • Provide safe and effective pain management for patients
  • Perform appropriate opioid prescribing activities (patient agreements, urine toxicology screening, pill counts)
  • Differentiate between addiction, dependence, tolerance, and pseudo-addiction
  • Use Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) appropriately
  • Manage challenging patient encounters related to pain and opioid prescribing by focusing on goals rather than pain eradication
  • Understand side-effects of opioids, including analgesic tolerance, nausea, and respiratory depression
  • Prescribe naloxone effectively

Course Description

This course covers guidelines for the safe and effective prescribing of opioids to assist healthcare providers in delivering compassionate, evidence-based, responsible care while improving the quality and safety of patient pain management.

Author Information

Course development guided by the expertise of Darren Cullen, Sarah Wakeman, Chris Gilligan, and Scott Weiner

Did You Know...

  • According to the CDC, about 20% of patients presenting to physicians with pain-related diagnoses (not including cancer) receive an opioid prescription
  • In 2012, healthcare providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication
  • From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 persons died from overdose related to opioid pain medication in the US

Course at a Glance

target audience icon Target Audience:

Providers tasked with prescribing opioids

time to complete icon Time to Complete:

20–30 Minutes

contributor icon Contributor:

Massachusetts General Hospital, Mass General Brigham

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