Pain Management in the Era of Epidemic Drug Abuse

As research sheds light on pain management issues and treatment methods, healthcare professionals are expected to maintain competency in assessing and treating their patients’ pain, as well as managing the side effects of those pain control interventions. The national opioid abuse epidemic has changed the manner in which pain management education is conducted. Increasingly, state Boards of Nursing are requiring continuing education on the subject of pain management and/or substance abuse as a prerequisite for licensure and/or re-licensure as part of a concerted effort to stem the tide of the national opioid abuse epidemic. Each state defines the parameters of this continuing education for those practicing within its borders.

Pedagogy offers several state-specific courses which alone, or in combination with the Pedagogy course entitled Current Concepts in Pain Management, satisfy most of these states’ requirements. As each state institutes this condition, Pedagogy thoroughly reviews the specifications and develops a curriculum that meets the needs. This course satisfies the requirements of those states that define the expectation as at least two hours of education on this subject.

This course fulfills the requirement of 2 contact hours of CNE about substance abuse for Rhode Island nurses to renew their license. 

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Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Discuss the negative effects of unrelieved pain.
  2. Identify at least 2 barriers to adequate pain management.
  3. Recognize at least 3 factors that contributed to the rise of opioid use.
  4. Identify at least 5 addiction behaviors.
  5. Discuss appropriate patient education regarding prescription drugs.
  6. Recognize at least 5 DEA “Red Flags” as it relates to drug misuse and/or diversion.


Chapter 1: Scope of the Issue

  • Prevalence of Inappropriately Treated Pain
  • Effects of Inappropriately Treated Pain
  • Pain Management Options
  • Barriers to Effective Pain Management
    • Patient Barrier
    • Healthcare Provider Barriers
    • Healthcare System Barriers
  • Patients’ Rights

Chapter 2: Drug Misuse, Abuse and Diversion

  • Rise of Opioid Abuse
  • Opioid Abuse Statistics
  • Regulations/Guidelines
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
  • Naloxone
  • Avenues for Drug Abuse/Diversion
  • Patient Addiction Behaviors
  • Screening Tools
  • Healthcare Professional Addiction Behaviors
  • Pain Management Universal Precautions
  • Patient Education

Chapter 3: References

  • California Bill 241
  • Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Implications of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • How to Reduce Implicit Bias

Price: $24.00

Contact Hours: 2

Course Author

Pamela Clark

Pamela Clark, CRNI, is an infusion nurse with the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. She has more than 35 years of experience in infusion therapy and infusion education with both licensed nurses and patients. Her experience spans multiple infusion settings including: acute care, long-term care, home infusion, and ambulatory infusion care. She also has experience in oncology and oncology research.

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