Massachusetts Medical Society: The Use and Misuse of Opioids - Physicians

The Use and Misuse of Opioids - Physicians

Education & Resources for Physicians

The Massachusetts Medical Society urges physicians to learn more about the opioid crisis that continues to devastate the lives of so many. Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that impacts the structure and function of the brain. Physicians therefore need to be at the front lines of both prevention and treatment. Screening for substance use disorders is an essential part of healthcare because early diagnosis and treatment facilitates recovery.

The nexus of pain management and addiction remains a complex challenge for physicians too. Assessing the risks and benefits in pain treatment is an ongoing process, while keeping in mind that understanding how to prescribe opioids is our medical responsibility. It is essential to know when and how to help patients who either become dependent or addicted to opioids, by providing care ourselves or knowing where patients can receive evidence based treatment as soon as possible.  Understanding the co-morbidities often seen in patients suffering from addiction is also important because treatment of psychiatric issues may be a critical part of recovery.

Being informed and building practice resources to meet these needs is essential. Learning more about pain management, opioids, addiction and treatment can only strengthen our practices and ultimately improve the health and well being of our patients.

Massachusetts Consultation Service for the Treatment of Addiction and Pain (MCSTAP)

  • Offers real-time phone consultation to primary care practices on safe prescribing and managing care for adults with chronic pain and/or substance use disorder
  • Consults on questions across a broad range of topics, from managing medications (including opioids, MAT and non-opioid pain medications) to pain management strategies
  • Provides information on community-based resources to address the needs of these patients
  • Available Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Provides free consultations on all patients statewide, regardless of insurance
  • Staffed by physician consultations with extensive expertise in treating addiction and pain management
  • To reach MCSTAP, call 1-833-PAIN-SUD (1-833-724-6783)
  • Funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Explore these topics to learn more…

General Information
Understanding the Opioid Epidemic
Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Massachusetts Opioid Prescribing Laws
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program — Using MassPAT

Pain and Opioids
Assessment Tools for Chronic Pain
Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

Tapering Opioids
Addiction Risk Assessment and Patient Agreements

Patient Education about Opioids
Pain Management for High Risk Patients:  Patients in Recovery, Pediatric Patients and Elderly

National Pain Associations: For Professionals and Patients

Opioid Use Disorder
Learning More about Opioid Use Disorder
Preventing Opioid Use Disorder

Screening for Substance Use Disorders
Understanding Addiction, Treatment and Recovery

What is Physical Dependence, Tolerance, Addiction?
The Stigma of Addiction- A Barrier to Treatment and Recovery

Treatment and Recovery
Evidenced Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Treatment in Massachusetts
Learn more about becoming a buprenorphine provider

Treating Special Populations with Opioid Use Disorder
Pregnancy, New Mothers and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
     - Teens

     - Criminal Justice Involved Individuals 
Patient Resources

Support Groups

Harm Reduction
What is Harm Reduction?

Overdose Prevention: Naloxone and Resources
Needle Exchanges

Safe Injection Facilities (SIF’s)

Risk Management
Online CME’s “Identifying Drug Dependence”

Utilizing MassPAT
Safe Storage and Disposal

Ongoing Medical Education
The Core Competencies for Graduate Medical Education
Online Mentoring Programs for prescribing opioids and treating OUD

Free online CME’s

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