Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you'll be able to:

  • Describe how to safely initiate, modify and discontinue opioids for acute pain
  • Discuss differences between short and long acting opioids including methadone
  • Counsel patients on safe use, storage and disposal of opioids


This course will teach you about the following topics:

  1. Assessing patients for treatment with opioid analgesics
  2. Identifying risk factors for opioid related adverse events
  3. Describing how to safely initiate therapy, modify dose, and discontinue opioid analgesics
  4. Distinguishing differences between short and long acting opioids including methadone
  5. Counseling patients and caregivers about safe use of opioids
  6. Managing ongoing therapy using a treatment plan that includes functional goals, an opioid treatment agreement, and periodic assessment of the benefits and side effects, and continued need for opioids
  7. Complying with controlled substances laws and regulations
  8. Referring for the treatment of abuse or addiction that may arise from the use of opioids

Please note that this course is not graded. You will encounter questions to help explore scenarios that do not necessarily have a right answer and receive feedback on your choices to reinforce learning.

The scenarios presented in this module are intended to highlight and reinforce broad principles. Specific case details are left out (e.g. source of pain, reason for admission).

At the end of the course, you will be provided links to more specific details.


David Tauben, MD

Debra B. Gordon, RN, DNP, FAAN

Joe Anscher, MAT

Cathy Trego

Joe Wilson

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University of Washington