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Opioid Abuse

The routine use of UDT according to current prescription drug monitoring guidelines allows for a comprehensive assessment of opioid misuse grounded in policy rather than decisions based on individual patient characteristics, decreasing the stigma that can be associated with this type of testing.


The opioid epidemic has gripped the nation and shows no signs of slowing down. While the primary driver of opioid deaths is fentanyl, the opioid epidemic started from an increase in opioid prescriptions in the 1990s. The government and healthcare agencies have a number of proposals and initiatives centered around the 2016 CDC guidelines regarding opioid therapy to decrease the availability of prescription opioids. Despite the national climate regarding opioid use and the concerted push to decrease opioid consumption, many patients continue to push providers for opioid prescriptions to treat chronic pain. There are multiple risk mitigation strategies that can help providers identify non-compliant patients and decrease the risk of harm. Providers are encouraged to wean patients down or off opioids and promote non-opioid pharmacotherapy and multidisciplinary therapies.


Providers are under increasing pressure to ensure safe and effective prescribing of chronic opiates in light of the opiate epidemic. When a provider needs to taper a dose or wean a patient off chronic opiates, providers may have a lack of knowledge and comfort on how to do so while minimizing symptoms to the patient. This talk will review the signs and symptoms of withdrawal, who is at risk of withdrawal and medications providers can use to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Participants will also walk away with practical rules and guidelines on how to wean patients off chronic opiates or taper to a lower dose. Finally, the talk will review options for transitioning patients to addiction treatment. Participants will get to practice what they learn through several interactive cases.


In the U.S., about 15.1 million people have an alcohol use disorder and about 4.8 million misuse opioids. This session focuses on the pharmacotherapy of alcohol and opioid use disorders. The faculty will describe and contrast naltrexone and acamprosate treatments for alcohol use disorder and discuss the use of buprenorphine/naloxone to treat opioid use disorder.