Safe Opioid Prescribing for Physicians and Dentists


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.

Course ID #: TDE 211034.0 Issue Date: 12/30/2021 Expiration Date: 11/19/2023


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.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Susan Boisvert, BSN, MHSA, CPPS, CPHRM, DFASHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
Robin Wessels, MBA, BSN, RN, CPHRM, Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company
David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPL, FACS, as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of The Doctors Company Group
Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of 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 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 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 activity for one 2.5 continuing education credits.

Complies with State Requirements

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

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Interent Explorer is not supported on this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368.


Visit our Resource document for this program.