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Challenges in Using Opioids to Treat Pain in Persons With Substance Use Disorders

Author: Seddon R. Savage, M.D., M.S., Kenneth L. Kirsh, Ph.D., and Steven D. Passik, Ph.D.

Course Created: 2008

Practice Level: Intermediate

No book to buy Duration: 2 hours
3.6 out of 4.0, Based on: 25 reviews

Course Summary

Pain and substance abuse often co-occur, and each can make the other more difficult to treat. A knowledge of pain and its interrelationships with addiction enhances the addiction specialist's efficacy with many patients, both in the substance abuse setting and in collaboration with pain specialists. This course discusses the neurobiology and clinical presentation of pain and its interaction with substance use disorders, presents methodical approaches to the evaluation and treatment of pain that co-occurs with substance use disorders, and provides practical guidelines for the use of opioids to treat pain in individuals with histories of addiction.

Course Format

This course contains downloadable online lessons (PDF or Word) and a practice test. When you're ready, purchase the course by clicking the "Add To Cart" button. This will let you take the test, complete the course evaluation and receive your certificate for CE credits.

Course Syllabus

  1. The Prevalence of Pain
  2. The Experience of Pain
  3. Principles of Pain Assessment
  4. Principles of Pain Treatment
  5. Opioid Considerations in Pain Treatment
  6. Clinical Management of Opioids in Persons With Substance Use Problems

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the incidence of chronic pain.
  • Describe how chronic pain differs from acute pain.
  • Identify the most commonly misused opioid.
  • Describe common reasons for opioid abuse.


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