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Course # 66962 • Opioid Use Disorder


Morphine and heroin were first synthesized and used medicinally in the nineteenth century, and recreational and illicit use followed. Historically, heroin dependence has been difficult to treat successfully, with poor outcome being attributed to patient characteristics, environmental factors, and the powerful reinforcing effects of the drug. Agonist-replacement therapy was introduced 40 years ago and represented a breakthrough in the management of heroin addiction. Advances in treatment have included newer pharmacotherapies, psychosocial therapy, and the growth and accessibility of 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. This course will provide the most pertinent, up-to-date information regarding the characteristics of the opioid-addicted patient; the mechanism of opioid action and the neurobiology of opioid addiction; the epidemiology, diagnosis and risk factors of opioid abuse and dependence; and pharmacologic, psychosocial, 12-step/self-help, and alternative therapies that are effective in treating opioid use disorders. Additionally, the demographics, characteristics, comorbidity and treatment of prescription opioid abuse and dependence (i.e., OxyContin and Vicodin) will be addressed. The actual liability of abuse and dependence of legitimately prescribed prescription opioids will be conveyed.

Education Category: Psychiatric / Mental Health

Release Date: 04/01/2018

Expiration Date: 03/31/2021


This advanced course is designed for psychologists who may be involved in identifying or treating opioid dependence.


Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 10 credit(s).

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to assist psychologists in identifying, treating, and providing appropriate referrals to patients with opioid use disorders. Fear of creating new opioid addicts has influenced prescribing practices for decades, and this course will convey the actual risk of patient addiction to these pain-relieving drugs when used legitimately.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Define key terms associated with opioid abuse and dependence.
  2. Outline the background and epidemiology of opioid use and abuse, including risk factors for misuse and dependence.
  3. Describe the pharmacology and clinical effects of opioids.
  4. Discuss characteristics of specific opioid drugs and opioid antagonists.
  5. Review the natural history, pathophysiology, and effects of opioid abuse and dependence.
  6. Identify signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and withdrawal.
  7. List the issues associated with the abuse of or dependence on legitimately prescribed opioids.
  8. Discuss the role of crisis intervention and harm reduction in the management of opioid abuse and dependence.
  9. Identify methods of managing the detoxification and withdrawal associated with cessation of opioid abuse or dependence.
  10. Discuss therapies used to maintain extended abstinence from opioids, including agonist replacement and abstinence therapies.
  11. Identify common psychologic comorbidities present in opioid-dependent patients and implications for treatment.
  12. Outline the effects of opioid use on fetuses and neonates and appropriate interventions for opioid-dependent pregnant women.
  13. Identify factors associated with favorable/ unfavorable treatment outcome.


Mark Rose, BS, MA, is a licensed psychologist and researcher in the field of alcoholism and drug addiction based in Minnesota. He has written or contributed to the authorship of numerous papers on addiction and other medical disorders and has written books on prescription opioids and alcoholism published by the Hazelden Foundation. He also serves as an Expert Advisor and Expert Witness to various law firms on matters related to substance abuse, is on the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis-based International Institute of Anti-Aging Medicine, and is a member of several professional organizations.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Mark Rose, BS, MA, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

James Trent, PhD

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

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