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Opioids Clinical Primer

This program provides an overview of key concepts and skills for clinicians facing common challenges in the management of patients with chronic pain, including reducing the risks of opioids and addressing opioid use disorder.

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Strategies for Managing Chronic Pain: Moving Beyond Opioids
Explore how to optimize non-opioid medications for the management of chronic non-cancer pain. Learn how to collaborate with patients to use non-pharmacologic strategies such as physical activity, physical therapies, self-management programs, and psychological therapies for pain self-management. Discover available resources to assist you in helping your patients manage their chronic pain.
Mental Health, Chronic Pain, and Substance Use: Addressing the Connections
Understand how mental health conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders and a history of trauma may contribute to and complicate the management of chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) and substance use disorders. Explore how to use brief interventions and referral for treatment for patients with these overlapping conditions. Consider ways to incorporate trauma informed care into practice.
Safer Opioid Prescribing Strategies
Understand your role in minimizing opioid-related harms through patient education and safe prescribing and dispensing practices. Learn how to assess patients on opioids for adverse effects, and when and how to taper and switch opioids. Select patients who are likely to benefit from opioids and are at a lower risk of harm.
Managing Patients with Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care with Buprenorphine
Using case studies, learn how to identify patients who would benefit from buprenorphine treatment in a primary care setting. Understand how to manage buprenorphine prescriptions, including; dose adjustments, side effect management, monitoring, observed versus take-home dosing, the role of urine drug testing. Learn about the importance of co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders with respect to relapse prevention and the importance of trauma histories in relation to opioid use disorder.
Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care: Principles of Assessment and Management
Review the role of opioids in the brain and the signs and symptoms of withdrawal. Learn how to identify patients with opioid use disorder and outline the management options for opioid use disorder including the role of opioid agonist therapy with buprenorphine. Educate patients on strategies to prevent opioid overdose including the use of naloxone, a vital tool for overdose prevention.
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This program is part of Ontario Pain Management Resources: A Partnership to Help Clinicians Support their Patients coordinated by Health Quality Ontario. Learn more at