Introduction: The need for better skills training related to addiction risk associated with pain treatment is understood (CASA, 2005;; Merrill, 2002; Lin, 2007). But data to guide such development so that it emphasizes the greatest need is limited. Materials and Methods: We interviewed six primary care providers about their concerns and challenges in prescribing opioids and treating pain and addiction as well as their needs and preferences regarding continuing medical education (CME) courses on pain and addiction.
Results: The PCPS greatest concern when prescribing opioids to patients was the potential for addiction. Their greatest challenges were: 1) diversion, 2) co-occurring psychiatric disorder, and 3) inability of non-opioid treatments to relieve pain. Some participants felt that additional training would help address these challenges. For treating pain in already-addicted patients, they requested information on: 1) discerning drug-seeking behavior due to addiction vs. under-treated pain, 2) identifying relapse into addiction, 3) urine drug testing, 4) informed consent and treatment agreements, 5) how to
take an addiction history, and 6) referral resources and clinical tools to help clinicians identify, interview, and manage addicted patients. Participants expressed the most interest in back pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and osteoarthritis. Their greatest interest for practical skills training was in screening for addiction or interviewing pain patients.
Conclusions: PCPs identify a need for education on the risk of addiction in patients with pain. Meeting that need will require a comprehensive resource addressing multiple skills deficits and tools to help the provider find appropriate resources.
This research is funded by NIDA/NIH contract #HHSN271200800012C
1. CASA. Under the counter: The diversion and abuse of controlled prescription drugs in the U.S. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. 2005.
2. Lin JJ, Alfandre D, Moore C. Physician attitudes toward opioid prescribing for patients with persistent noncancer pain. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2007;23(9):799-803.
3. Merrill JO, Rhodes LA, Deyo RA, Marlatt A, Bradley KA. Mutual mistrust in the medical care of drug users. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2002;17:327-333.
Introduction/Statement of the Problem: Successful treatment modalities for patients with co-morbid pain and substance abuse problems have been developed. However, the practice community is ill-equipped to incorporate such evidence-based recommendations or strong clinical consensus opinions due to a lack of knowledge and training in this area. Materials and Methods: Using funding from NIDA, this project is surveying and interviewing primary care physicians (PCPs), primary care residents, and nurse practitioners (NPs), to determine educational needs and learning preferences. We also inquired about interest in an educational experience involving Internet-based Standardized Patients (SPs) to mirror the challenges and variability of interviewing live patients. Exempt research determined by the Clinical Tools' IRB involved opt-in subjects who were contacted by email about participating in online surveys (n=9 for each group).
Results: Each group prioritized training need as follows: 1) treating patients in recovery, 2) treating patients actively using substances, 3) treating patients at risk for substance abuse. With respect to conventional online, case-based educational courses, each group preferred a format using multiple short cases (>75%). They differed slightly in terms of how to best integrate cases and factual content but all preferred interactive questions/answer pairs on every page. The majority of each group expressed interest in learning by interviewing a virtual SP. For the SP experience, a chat-based interview was
preferred to a video-based interview. Practicing physicians want very flexible hours and quick response time. Residents and NPs are more willing to wait for a response.
Conclusions: PCPs, residents and NPs identify a need to learn more about co-morbid substance abuse and pain. They are interested in online education solutions, especially those that employ multiple cases as the learning modality and interactive questions. They are willing to engage with virtual SP via chat.
Mitchell AM, Dewey CM. Chronic pain in patients with substance abuse disorder: general guidelines and an approach to treatment. Postrgrad Med. 2008;120(1):75-9 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18467812].