A Primer on the Opioid Morbidity and Mortality Crisis: What Every Prescriber Should Know
This e-learning module incorporates animation, infographics, and storytelling to raise physician awareness about prescription opioid-related morbidity and mortality, factors influencing opioid-related harm, and what steps can be taken to promote the safe use of this important class of medications. Topics include the burden of chronic pain in the United States, trends in opioid prescribing and opioid-related harms that have developed over the past 20 years, factors influencing the development of the "opioid epidemic,” and risk factors for unintentional overdose and development of opioid use disorder. In addition, some attention is devoted to the intersection of prescription opioid misuse with the resurgence in heroin use and addiction, and how the clinical practice environment for pain management and opioid prescribing has been influenced by the public and private sector. Finally, recommendations for promoting safe opioid use in different patient populations are offered. Funding for developing this module was made possible in part) by the Provider’s Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (grant no. 5H79TI025595) from SAMHSA. The views expressed in this module do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Should you have technical questions, please contact the AMA Unified Service Center at 800-621-8335. Should you have questions regarding the content, please contact Barry Dickinson at barry.dickinson@ama-assn.org.
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A Primer on the Opioid Morbidity and Mortality Crisis: What Every Prescriber Should Know
Release Date:
January 30, 2017

Expiration Date: December 31, 2019

Upon completion of this educational activity, the physician will be able to:

  1. Summarize opioid prescription trends over the past two decades. 
  2. Describe patient risk factors for opioid misuse and/or the likelihood of developing an opioid use disorder or addiction.
  3. Distinguish the variables that increase the risk for patients to experience an unintentional overdose from prescription opioids.
  4. Summarize the association between opioid misuse and heroin use or addiction.
  5. Summarize areas of agreement and disagreement among various recent practice guidelines intended to promote safe opioid prescribing. 
  6. Review the basic approaches and actions to reduce opioid-related harm in patients with acute or chronic pain.

Target Audience
This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of primary care and other physicians who prescribe opioid analgesics for acute and chronic pain. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants authorized to prescribe opioids, or who are involved with opioid prescribing, and pharmacists also may benefit from this module. 

Statement of Need
There is a need to educate physicians on trends in opioid prescribing, the magnitude of harm attributable to prescription opioids, risk factors for opioid misuse, overdose, and opioid addiction, and the intersection of opioid prescribing with the resurgence in heroin use, addiction, and overdose deaths. Secondarily, physicians need to be aware of developing regulatory, legislative, and private sector initiatives that are impacting their ability to apply individualized clinical decision-making for pan management and opioid prescribing.

Statement of Competency
This activity is designed to address the following ABMS/ACGME competency; medical knowledge. 

Accreditation Statement
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement
The American Medical Association designates this enduring material for a maximum of .75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Claiming Your CME Credit 
In order to claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, 1) view the module content in its entirety, 2) successfully complete the quiz answering 4 out of 5 questions correctly and 3) complete the evaluation.    

Planning Committee
Edward H. Livingston, MD, FACS, AGAF, Deputy Editor, Clinical Reviews and Education, JAMA, American Medical Association - AMA CME Program Committee
Barry Dickinson, PhD - Director, Science, Medicine and Public Health, AMA
Daniel Blaney-Koen, JD - Senior Legislative Attorney, Advocacy Resource Center, AMA
Andrea Garcia, JD, MPH - Principal Policy Analyst, Science Policy, AMA

Barry D. Dickinson, PhD - Director, Science, Medicine & Public Health, AMA (Author)
Robert Rich, MD - Medical Director, Community Care of the Lower Cape Fear, North Carolina (Content Reviewer)
Erin Krebs, MD, MPH - Women's Health Med Dir, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Core Investigator, Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Disease (Content Reviewer)
John Renner, MD - Vice Chair, Council on Addiction Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association (Content Reviewer)
Frank Dowling, MD - Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, SUNY (Content Reviewer)

Disclosure Statement
In order to assure the highest quality of certified CME programming, and to comply with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support, the AMA requires that all faculty, planning committee and AMA CME Program Committee members disclose relevant financial relationships with any commercial or proprietary entity producing health care goods or services relevant to the content being planned or presented.

The following disclosures are provided:
Edward H. Livingston, MD (Nothing to disclose)
Barry Dickinson, PhD (Nothing to disclose)
Daniel Blaney-Koen, JD (Nothing to disclose)
Andrea Garcia, JD, MPH(Nothing to disclose)
Robert Rich, MD (Nothing to disclose)
Erin Krebs, MD, MPH (Nothing to disclose)
John Renner, MD (Nothing to disclose)
Frank Dowling, MD (Nothing to disclose)

Unless noted, all individuals in control of content have no relevant financial relationships.

Hardware/software Requirements
Hardware/Software Requirements: 
Screen resolution of 1280 x720  
Web browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, IE  - preferably Chrome 
Browser Plug-in: Adobe Flash Player

Should you have questions regarding the content of the activity, please contact Barry Dickinson at barry.dickinson@ama-assn.org. 

Should you have technical questions, please contact the AMA Unified Service Center at 1-800-621-8335.

Type:  Internet Activity (Enduring Material)
Activity Price
1320 Registered Users
0.75 Credits> AMA> AMA PRA Category 1 Credit

0 Credits> AMA> Certificate of Participation for Non-Physicians