Prescribing Opioids Safely

Program Description

Opioids play an important role in pain management—both in the acute and the chronic setting, but a variety of causes have contributed to an opioid-related epidemic leading to addiction and death. There has also been substantial misuse of opioids by prescription and by diversion. With the spotlight on the epidemic guidelines, regulations, studies, and solutions are emerging, including recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can address the epidemic and allow for effective and appropriate use of these drugs.


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Consider if alternative medications can be effective in managing a patient’s pain before prescribing opioids medications.
  • Check a prescription data base in my state before prescribing opioids.
  • Establish a plan with each patient when initiating a new prescription for chronic or long-term opioids.
  • Evaluate each patient’s understanding of the risks of taking opioids, how and why to keep these drugs safe and avoid diversion, and appropriate disposal for unused pills. 
  • Educate colleagues and office staff about the root causes associated with prescribing opioids that were identified in an analysis of malpractice lawsuits.
  • Limit the number and minimize the dosage when opioids are indicated for treating acute pain.
  • Apply the CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in my practice.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.

Course Developers

Howard Marcus, FACP, Internal Medicine, The Doctors Company Texas Physician Advisory Board Chairman

Robert Morton, CPHRM, CPPS, Assistant Vice President, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Julie Hopkins, MA, MBA, Director, Continuing Medical Education, Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical educational activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Doctors Company estimates two and a one half hours for completion of this course. A passing score of 80 percent or greater is required to successfully complete the activity and earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

The Doctors Company is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education.

ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at

The Doctors Company designates this enduring material activity for 2.5 continuing education credit. Dentists should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Course ID#: TDE 18021.0
Issue Date for This Activity: 05/08/2018
Expiration Date for This Activity: 12/01/2019


The information and guidelines contained in this enduring material activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. The faculty recommends that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes only.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Currently, Prescribing Opioids Safely is not recognized by any Licensing Board in the state of Florida as meeting the continuing education requirements defined by HB21, Controlled Substance Prescribing, that became effective July 1, 2018.

Technical Requirements

This activity is best experienced using the most current browser (or one back) of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported by this platform. For all activities featuring audio you must have a sound card and speakers. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, you must have JavaScript and session cookies enabled on your computer.  Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.


Click Here to download a PDF with resources related to this program.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368, extension 1243.