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Interactive Training Series

Applying CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids

An Online Training Series for Healthcare Providers
Applying CDC's Guideline for Prescribing Opioids: An Online Training Series for Providers

In 2017, almost 57 million American patients had at least one prescription for opioids filled or refilled. The average number of opioid prescriptions per patient was 3.4, and the average days of supply per prescription was 18 days.1 Taking opioids for longer periods of time or in higher doses increases the risk of addiction, overdose, and death. The CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain provides recommendations for safer and more effective prescribing of opioids for chronic pain in patients 18 and older in outpatient settings outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

This interactive online training series aims to help healthcare providers apply CDC’s recommendations in clinical settings through patient scenarios, videos, knowledge checks, tips, and resources. Providers can gain a better understanding of the recommendations, the risks and benefits of prescription opioids, nonopioid treatment options, patient communication, and risk mitigation. Each stand-alone module is self-paced and offers free continuing education credit (CME, CNE, and CEU). The list below contains information about the trainings currently available, as well as those planned for release for the remainder of this year.

Module # Title and DescriptionAvailable: CME CNE CEU


Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Recommendations from CDC

Get an overview of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. This module explains the rationale for the Guideline’s creation, highlights key recommendations, and describes the benefits of implementing the Guideline.

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2 (WB2859) Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids

Review various options and tools for managing chronic pain. Skills include identifying appropriate nonopioid medications and nonpharmacologic treatments and facilitating a patient-centered approach.

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Communicating With Patients

Learn communication strategies they can use when treating chronic pain, including motivational interviewing.

0.75 0.6 0.1


Reducing the Risks of Opioids

Learn best risk mitigation strategies and when to employ them when prescribing an opioid.

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Assessing and Addressing Opioid Use Disorder

Learn methods for assessing and addressing an opioid use disorder when it is suspected.

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6 Deciding Whether to Prescribe

Learn mechanisms for deciding if opioids should be prescribed, and next steps for treatment – whether opioid or non-opioid treatments are selected.

7 Dosing and Titration of Opioids: How Much, How Long, and How and When to Stop?

Learn methods for properly dosing and titrating opioids in order to reduce risk of opioid use disorder and overdose.

8 Implementing the CDC Guideline

Learn strategies and tools for implementing the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in a provider’s own practice, while outlining steps to overcome common barriers to implementation.

9 Opioid Use and Pregnancy

Learn about unique considerations that come with opioid use during pregnancy, and best practices for providing care for both the mother and baby.

10 Motivational Interviewing

Focus on the use of motivational interviewing during the management and treatment of chronic pain, which can enhance patients’ motivation to change behaviors relative to chronic pain conditions. The content includes principles, steps, and best practices.

11 Acute Pain

Review evidence, strategies, and best practices when considering prescribing opioids for acute pain conditions.

Receive free continuing education (CME, CNE, CEU) for each training by registering on CDC Training and Continuing Education (TCE) Online, searching for the corresponding course number, and completing the evaluation.

  • CME: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • CNE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accredited as a provider of Continuing Nursing Education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
  • CEU: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this program.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-Related Risks and Outcomes — United States. Surveillance Special Report 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Published August 31, 2018.