Update: Opioid Education Surpasses 20,000 Courses
One of the major efforts MMS has engaged in to address the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth has been prescriber education. Our Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication Guidelines, developed by the MMS Task Force on Opioid Therapy and Physician Communication and issued in May of 2015, laid the groundwork in providing guidance to physicians in prescribing opioids to patients. Those guidelines have been adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine and incorporated into its comprehensive advisory to physicians on prescribing issues and practices.
Another major contribution by MMS in addressing the epidemic has been the offer of free continuing medical education courses in opioids and pain management for all prescribers. That effort also began in May of last year. A total of 18 courses and modules are available.
A previous blog post in August has discussed how this activity is having a positive impact, helping to reduce opioid prescribing rates across the Commonwealth. Three separate studies, released in June, July, and August, have catalogued a decline in prescribing rates.
MMS today can report that since the offer of free courses began on May 26, 2015, the number of courses taken has surpassed 20,000. As of October 7, a total of 20,249 courses have been taken by 7,084 individuals.