ONDCP and NIDA Create Online Physician Training Courses for Prescribing Painkillers

December 5, 2012

International health care providers may take advantage of unique training tools developed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and NIDA to help health care providers screen and manage patients taking prescription opioid analgesics. Prescription drug diversion and abuse is an epidemic in the United States, and is reported to be increasing around the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 2000 and 2009, the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers in the United States increased by 48 percent; between 1997 and 2007, the milligram per person use of prescription opioids in the United States increased by 402 percent. Although there are few data internationally, the 2012 World Drug Report found that the nonmedical use of tranquillizers and sedatives among females exceeds cannabis use in Central America, Europe, and South America. Two courses—“Safe Prescribing for Pain” and “Managing Pain Patients Who Abuse Rx Drugs”—that are available on the NIDA website use videos that model effective communication in screening pain patients for substance use disorder risk factors before prescribing, and in identifying when patients are abusing their medications. Medical schools and international researchers may adapt the courses for use in those settings.