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Reducing Opioid Use Through Pharmacist Continuing Education

Nearly 130 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, which includes the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.2

Pain management has moved to center stage in the healthcare industry, driven by this national opioid crisis. Every state in the country has opioid use disorder issues, and many states are tightening opioid prescribing rules to reduce access to opioids. As pharmacists increasingly become part of care teams, their participation represents an opportunity to have a positive impact on appropriate use of opioids and optimizing pain management care plans.Training Pharmacists in Opioid Stewardship

The Pharmacist-driven Analgesia Improvement Stewardship (PAInS) Certificate Program was designed by Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS) to help combat the opioid crisis and save lives. The PAInS Certificate Program is a qualified continuing pharmacy education (CPE) course that educates CPS health system pharmacists and their clients on appropriate use of opioids and optimizing pain management care plans in their hospital and health system facilities. Aimed at training pharmacists to find other ways to treat chronic pain, the PAInS Certificate Program is built with practical and real cases that guide the pharmacist through the process of achieving pain management stewardship. Components of the Program

The program is divided into three modules:

  • Module 1: Twelve hours of live and recorded lectures that focus on basic principles and the science of analgesics, covering topics related to professional competencies for pharmacists involved in pain management stewardship
  • Module 2: Five hours of core-based disease state management discussions and real-world applications delivered in both live and recorded formats
  • Module 3: Three-hour practicum where the pharmacist applies learned skills and teaches others about the application of pain management stewardship

Upon completion of the PAInS Certificate Program, a pharmacist will be able to:

  • Develop an advanced understanding of the evidence-based strategies of pain management stewardship
  • Incorporate pain management stewardship principles into disease state management
  • Demonstrate practical application of pain management stewardship

The PAInS Certificate Program totals 20 hours of instruction, including lectures, discussions, and a practicum.

For more information about the PAInS Certificate Program, email:


[1] Accessed 1.21.21.

[2] Florence CS, Zhou C, Luo F, Xu L. The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse, and Dependence in the United States, 2013. Med Care. 2016;54(10):901-906. doi:10.1097/MLR.0000000000000625.

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2021

Tags: Blog