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New online tool for clinicians aims to combat prescription drug abuse

Includes opportunity for CE credit

Washington—The Office of National Drug Control Policy and National Institute on Drug Abuse launched a new online learning tool today to curb prescription drug abuse.

The initiative includes training materials designed to provide dentists, physicians, medical interns and residents, and other clinicians with guidance on proper prescribing and patient management practices for patients on opioid analgesics (painkillers), and includes an opportunity to earn continuing medical education credit.

“It’s no coincidence that our strategy to address our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic begins with education,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of NDCP.  “All of us—parents, patients and prescribers—have a shared responsibility to learn more about this challenge and act to save lives. Prescribers in particular play a critical role in this national effort, and I strongly encourage them to take advantage of this training to ensure the safe and appropriate use of painkillers.”

The new training materials include videos modeling doctor-patient conversations on the safe use of opioid pain meds and two online CME modules. During the first year, the training modules will reside on the Medscape website for CME credit. The modules are also available on the NIDA website where they can be adapted for use in the syllabi of academic medical schools. To access the CE, individuals must log in to their Medscape account or create a free Medscape account.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to classify prescription drug abuse as an epidemic, with roughly 100 people dying each day from drug overdoses, driven primarily by prescription drugs.

The number of prescriptions filled for opioid pain relievers has increased dramatically in recent years. From 1997 to 2007, the milligram per person use of prescription opioids in the U.S. increased from 74 milligrams to 369 milligrams—an increase of 402 percent. Opiate overdoses, once almost always due to heroin use, are now increasingly due to abuse of prescription painkillers.

To access the CME/CE training materials for Safe Prescribing for Pain, visit Medscape.org/viewarticle/770687.

For the CME/CE training materials on Managing Pain Patients Who Abuse Rx Drugs, visit Medscape.org/viewarticle/770440.

For more information on reducing drug use and its consequences visit WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP.