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What has risen faster than college tuition over the past 20 years? There are three other important measures that have a had significant impacts on CPNP members, as well as their patients and institutions. If you guessed 1) prescriptions for opioid pain medications, 2) opioid related overdose deaths, and 3) patients with opioid use disorder, you are correct! In 2005 the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board estimated that the United States, with only 4.6% of the world’s population, was responsible using of 99% of hydrocodone and 85% of oxycodone on the planet. That is only one of the factors that drive the continued rise in opioid use, misuse and addiction.

Many pharmacists (as well as other health care professionals) feel under-prepared to be part of the solution to these rising concerns. How do you identify opioid overprescribing, risks associated with overdose, and opioid misuse and opioid use disorders? How do you educate prescribers, mitigate overdose and dependence risks, and how do you treat opioid use disorders?

To better prepare pharmacists and other providers to meet the rising demand for services and solutions regarding opioid use disorders and treatment, CPNP was recently invited to join the steering committees of PCSS-O and PCSS-MAT (Provider’s Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies and Medication Assisted Therapies, respectively).

In 2014, the American Association of Addiction Psychiatry was awarded a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to further develop and expand the PCSS-O and PCSS-MAT programs. In addition to CPNP, partners include the American Medical Association, American Dental Association, American Nursing Association, Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Psychiatric Association, American Pain Society and many others.

The PCSS-O and PCSS-MAT programs aim to provide educational training and resources for health professionals on the safe and effective use of opioid medications in the treatment of pain and opioid addiction and to enhance the clinical proficiency of prescribers and providers in treating opioid addiction through medication assisted treatment. In addition, they provide mentoring opportunities to provide guidance, direction and advice to help providers. The most visible of these activities is a series of webinar offerings offered by partners and a web-based platform for consultation and mentor opportunities. In addition, small grants are available to partner organizations to develop trainings and other resources for their own members as well as for the broader PCSS community.

The CPNP Board of Directors has selected Chris Stock, PharmD, BCPP, Investigator at the George E. Wahlen VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City, UT to represent the organization on the PCSS-O and PCSS-MAT steering committees. Feel free to contact Chris Stock if you have questions about this new endeavor, if you have ideas for educational programming or other resource development, or if you want more information about being a mentor or mentee. We at CPNP are very excited to be a partner in these two important programs, especially during this critical time of increased opioid use, misuse, and addiction.

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