Physicians and other health professionals hold one of the keys to ending West Virginia’s opioid epidemic – changing the way they treat pain and reducing the chance that patients will become addicted to prescription medication.

West Virginia University has added a new online course, “The Treatment of Pain and Addiction Utilizing Education and Proper Prescribing: The New Paradigm Continued.” The course will provide West Virginia physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and dentists with continuing education credit, and also fulfill the state’s requirement for training in avoiding diversion of prescriptions drugs into the illicit market.

“Although this course is specifically designed to meet West Virginia’s needs, it is available online to health professionals anywhere,” said Melanie Fisher, M.D., assistant dean for continuing education in the WVU School of Medicine. “It includes information about how to follow the latest guidelines for the use of opiate pain medicine issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March.”

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot about WVU's opioid addiction prevention and research efforts.

The program was developed through WVU’s Health Sciences Center continuing education program in partnership with the West Virginia Medical Professionals Health Program, the West Virginia State Medical Association, and the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association. Completion of the web course will meet the state mandated three hours of Drug Diversion study. Additional credit is offered for participants who view several optional case studies at the end of the course. The fee for the course is $45.

The course will bring providers the same information that is currently being taught to students in WVU’s health professions schools, said Norman Ferrari, M.D., chair of WVU’s Department of Medical Education. “Even before the CDC issued its guidelines, we updated our curriculum to make sure every student who graduates and all the professionals who come to us for continuing education are up to date on the use of opioids.”

On April 29, the White House announced, in coordination with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, that the WVU School of Nursing is one of 191 U.S. schools of nursing to implement academic requirement to address prescriber education. Beginning in fall 2016, advanced practice nursing students will be required to take some form of prescriber education prior to graduation.

Another WVU course created in 2013 is also available online. “Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain: Balancing Safety and Efficacy” also meets state drug diversion education requirements. The fee is $55. (WVU faculty, residents and staff may register for $20.)

WVU also offers in-person classes on this topic. The WVU School of Pharmacy is offering continuing education sessions in Barboursville May 13 and in Wheeling May 22.



CONTACT: Bill Case, WVU University Relations – Health Sciences

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