aaapWhile many recognize the country is in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic, adolescents often are overlooked as among those abusing these drugs. Research shows that less than 12 percent of adolescents with symptoms of abuse or dependence of prescription opioids receive any treatment. Pediatricians are increasingly being confronted with opioids, whether from an injury or misuse of a prescribed pain medicine, and the rates of addiction and overdose are growing.

In response, two national training and mentoring programs are helping thousands in primary care learn more about evidence-based approaches for prescribing opioids, identifying patients at risk for substance use disorders, and treating opioid addiction and pain. Funded by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Providers Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O) and Providers Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment (PCSS-MAT) have developed a no-cost training and mentoring program for healthcare providers. These coalitions, under the leadership of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, include the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Dental Association, and the American Medical Association, to name a few. Both projects provide CME credits for online modules and webinars at no cost to healthcare professionals.

  • PCSS-MAT: mentoring program to assist providers in learning more about possible medications for the treatment of opioid-addicted patients in their practices.
  • PCSS-O: peer-to-peer colleague support program to aid providers in appropriately prescribing opioids for pain and treating opioid use disorder.

“The PCSS mentoring programs give clinicians direct access to experts who can answer questions in a timely manner on safe and evidence-based use of opioids for the treatment of pain and how to identify those at risk for addictions,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, PCSS mentor, a pediatrician and a leading expert in substance use disorders.

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