Physician continuing education to reduce opioid misuse, abuse, and overdose: Many opportunities, few requirements

Article · April 2016with414 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.04.002
Background: The opioid overdose epidemic in the United States is driven in large part by inappropriate opioid prescribing. Although most American physicians receive little or no training during medical school regarding evidence-based prescribing, substance use disorders, and pain management, some states require continuing medical education (CME) on these topics. We report the results of a systematic legal analysis of such requirements, together with recommendations for improved physician training. Methods: To determine the presence and characteristics of CME requirements in the United States, we systematically collected, reviewed, and coded all laws that require such education as a condition of obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine. Laws or regulations that mandate one-time or ongoing training in topics designed to reduce overdose risk were further characterized using an iterative protocol RESULTS: Only five states require all or nearly all physicians to obtain CME on topics such as pain management and controlled substance prescribing, and fewer than half require any physicians to obtain such training. Conclusions: While not a replacement for improved education in medical school and post-graduate clinical training, evidence-based CME can help improve provider knowledge and practice. Requiring physicians to obtain CME that accurately presents evidence regarding opioid prescribing and related topics may help reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality. States and the federal government should also strongly consider requiring such training in medical school and residency.
    • They are generally neither designed nor equipped to serve these clinical decision support or care coordination functions, however (Green et al., 2015;). Similarly, health care provider education on opioid therapy and addiction management are dramatically underutilised and often compromised by industry bias (Davis & Carr, 2016). In place of these and other common-sense efforts to improve care and prevention, the modal programmatic and policy response has had an almost singular focus on suppression of opioid access.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: More than a decade in the making, America’s opioid crisis has morphed from being driven by prescription drugs to one fuelled by heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl. Drawing on historical lessons of the era of National Alcohol Prohibition highlights the unintended, but predictable impact of supply-side interventions on the dynamics of illicit drug markets. Under the Iron Law of Prohibition, efforts to interrupt and suppress the illicit drug supply produce economic and logistical pressures favouring ever-more compact substitutes. This iatrogenic progression towards increasingly potent illicit drugs can be curtailed only through evidence-based harm reduction and demand reduction policies that acknowledge the structural determinants of health.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2017
    • The majority of policy influencing pain management recommendations and impacting opioid prescribing has been enacted at the level of state government. An increasing number of state governments and medical licensing boards have mandated some level of physician CE focused on pain management (American MedicalNews, 2012); however, a recent systematic legal analysis of state CME requirements reported that only five states require most or all prescribers to complete such CE courses and fewer than half of all states require CE from any prescribers (Davis and Carr, 2016). One of the common themes of state legislation includes expansion of naloxone access for overdose treatment (National Conference of StateLegislations, 2014).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reviews the current literature on clinical guidelines, practitioner training, and government/payer policies that have come forth in response to the national rise in prescription opioid overdoses. A review of clinical opioid prescribing guidelines highlights the need for more research on safe and effective treatment options for chronic pain, improved guidance for the best management of post-operative pain, and evaluation of the implementation and impact of guideline recommendations on patient risk and outcomes. Although there is increasing attention to training in pain management in medical schools and medical residency programs, educational opportunities remain highly variable, and the need for additional clinician training in the recognition and treatment of pain as well as opioid use disorder has been recognized. Mandated use of private, federal and state educational and clinical initiatives such as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) generally increase utilization of these initiatives, but more research is needed to determine the impact of these initiatives on provider behaviors, treatment access, and patient outcomes. Finally, there is an acute need for more research on safe and effective treatments for chronic pain as well as an increased multi-level focus on improving training and access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder as well as non-pharmacologic and non-interventional chronic pain treatments, so that these guideline-recommended interventions can become mainstream, accessible, first-line interventions for chronic pain and/or opioid use disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2017
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opioid overdose prevention is a pressing public health concern and intranasal naloxone rescue kits are a useful tool in preventing fatal overdose. We evaluated the attitudes, knowledge, and experiences of patients and providers related to overdose and naloxone rescue. Over a six month period, patients and providers within a large community hospital in Staten Island were recruited to complete tailored questionnaires for their respective groupings. 100 patients and 101 providers completed questionnaires between August, 2014 and January, 2015. Patient participants were primarily Caucasian males with a mean age of 37.7 years, of which 65% accurately identified naloxone for opioid overdose, but only 21% knew more specific clinical features. 68% of patients had previously witnessed a drug overdose. Notably, 58% of patients anticipated their behavior would change if provided access to an intranasal naloxone rescue kit, of which 83% predicted an increase in opioid use. Prior overdose was significantly correlated with anticipating no change in subsequent opioid use pattern (p = 0.02). 99% of patients reported that their rapport with their health-care provider would be enhanced if offered an intranasal naloxone rescue kit. As for providers, 24% had completed naloxone rescue kit training, and 96% were able to properly identify its clinical application. 50% of providers felt naloxone access would decrease the likelihood of an overdose occurring, and 58% felt it would not contribute to high-risk behavior. Among providers, completion of naloxone training was correlated with increased awareness of where to access kits for patients (p < 0.001). This study suggests that patients and providers have distinct beliefs and attitudes toward overdose prevention. Patient–Provider discussion of overdose prevention enhances patients' rapport with providers. However, access to an intranasal naloxone rescue kit may make some patients more vulnerable to high-risk behavior. Future research efforts examining provider and patient beliefs and practices are needed to help develop and implement effective hospital-based opioid overdose prevention strategies.
    Article · Jul 2016
  • Article · Sep 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite shifts in rhetoric and some positive movement, Americans with the disease of addiction are still often stigmatized, criminalized, and denied access to evidencebased care. Dramatically reducing the number of lives unnecessarily lost to overdose requires an evidence-based, equity-focused, well-funded, and coordinated response. We present in this brief article evidence-based and promising practices for improving and refocusing the response to this simmering public health crisis. Topics covered include improving clinical decision-making, improving access to non-judgmental evidence-based treatment, investing in comprehensive public health approaches to problematic drug use, and changing the way law enforcement actors interact with people who use drugs.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2017
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