Medical Education

Responsible Opioid Prescribing

Prescription painkillers (opioids) are the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., and now the most common class of drug involved in overdose deaths in Oklahoma.

Responsible opioid prescribing is an important part of any medical practice. Luckily, Oklahoma Medical Providers are making SMART choices when it comes to prescribing opioids, even though addiction is often reported to be an area of limited focus during their medical school years.

Community Action Network understands this concern and has compiled a variety of resources throughout this webpage to help providers offer a more comprehensive evaluation of their patients. CAN hopes you will take advantage of these resources to strengthen your medical practice surrounding responsible opioid prescribing. Explore the links below to access our State and National recommended prescribing guidelines.

Responding to the Epidemic

Prevention, Health Care, and Legal Professionals across Oklahoma are dedicated to seeing these three main branches of effort put into practice within health care systems, community coalition action plans, law enforcement and first responder protocols. Think SMART Oklahoma promotes these efforts, in addition to others, and has provided readers with information throughout the site on each of these strategies.

What is MAT? Why is it Important?

Regardless if the user took opioids for the feeling they cause, or under the direction and care of a licensed medical provider, extended opioid use can change the chemical function of the brain and cause illnesses like Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, combines behavioral health therapy and medication to treat patients with OUD. These medications stabilize the craving and withdrawal cycles users experience when they cannot find a high enough dose of opioids to prevent them; when withdrawal and craving is prevented, users in treatment can begin to make steps toward recovery.

Why allow people with OUD to suffer needlessly, when medical solutions exist?

Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction

  • Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®)
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine®)
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol®)

Community Action Network recommends that all levels of providers strive to become waivered to offer MAT services. The pathways to opioid addiction often begin with legitimate medical conditions that require pain management. These are everyday patients who, through injury, now struggle with opioid addiction. These are your neighbors, colleagues, family members and friends. They deserve the opportunity to heal.

Will you become a part of their success story?

MAT Waiver Process

Physician Waiver

Qualified physicians may apply for waivers to treat opioid dependency with approved buprenorphine products.

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Nurse Practitioners & Physician Assistants Waiver

NPs and PAs who have completed the required training can apply for a waiver.

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The MATx mobile app supports the medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder by leading practitioners through the process to become certified to prescribe buprenorphine.

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Oklahoma Medical Education

Project Echo allows providers to get expert addiction specialist knowledge in a virtual learning environment network with OSU Center for Health Sciences addiction medicine ECHO team. The curriculum is designed to expand expertise in treating substance use disorders in the primary care setting.

But why is greater access to treatment needed?

In Oklahoma, 1 in every 3.6 adults, between 700,000 and 950,000 Oklahomans, need services for substance abuse disorders (SUD). This ranks Oklahoma second in the nation for rates of any substance abuse disorder at almost 12%.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the solution, visit Project Echo for a list of educational topics and schedules.

Project Echo OSMA CME Resources Medical CME Resources OSU CME Course Catalog Osteopathic Founders

National Medical Education

In response to the growing opioid epidemic, physicians are expanding their knowledge on safe prescribing practices.


More than 549,000 health care professionals successfully completed continued education training programs in 2017.

Source: American Medical Association

SAMHSA funds continuing medical education courses on prescribing opioids for chronic pain developed by local and state health organizations across the United States. Most of these courses also include resources that address practice management, legal and regulatory issues, opioid pharmacology, and strategies for managing challenging patient situations.

SAMHSA-supported courses are planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

University of Texas at Austin’s Operation Naloxone Project

Continuing online education courses focusing on overdose prevention and response for pharmacists, physicians, nurses, psychologists and social workers.

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RX Pain Medications: Know the Opinions, Get the Facts

This SAMHSA funded publication provides 13 fact sheets designed to increase awareness of the risks associated with prescription opioid use and misuse, as well as educating patients prescribed opioids for pain about the risks and provide resources on methods for alternative pain management.

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Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs.

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American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP)

The AAAP provides a number of continuing medical education opportunities for professionals seeking training on prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

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American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM)

The AOAAM offers a number of SAMHSA-supported prescribing courses, including a Self-Study Series developed by the Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment.

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American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN)

The ASPMN sponsors prescribing courses developed by the Providers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies.

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American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)

The American Society of Addiction Medicine sponsors a number of prescribing courses for MAT services providers. ASAM’s education website offers more than 300 hours of CME learning through live and online instruction.

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Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain offers education in safely and competently using opioids to treat chronic pain.

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Division of Pharmacologic Therapies (DPT)

The Division of Pharmacologic Therapies, part of the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, also provides buprenorphine training for physicians.

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Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC)

The Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, funded by SAMHSA, has a training course calendar to help you stay up-to-date on future prescription courses.

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End the Epidemic

The American Medical Association promotes the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

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Opioid Prescribing Course Inquiries

For more information about SAMHSA-supported opioid prescribing courses, contact the following SAMHSA representative by telephone, mail, or email

Anthony Campbell, Medical Officer CSAT/DPT
SAMHSA Division of Pharmacologic Therapies
1 Choke Cherry Road, RM 7-1035
Rockville, MD 20857
(240) 276-2702