Controlled Substances and Substance Abuse: Best Practices for the Healthcare Professional

The abuse of controlled substances, including stimulants, opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers, presents a significant public health challenge nationwide. This educational program delves deeply into the array of medications classified as controlled substances by federal regulations. Additionally, it equips healthcare professionals with vital insights into the hazards linked to prescribing such substances, along with strategies for their safe and efficient use, prescription, and the detection and prevention of substance misuse.

Target Audience

Dental Therapist, Podiatric Temporary Residency, Podiatric Medical Radiological Technicians, Certified Respiratory Therapist, Advanced Practice Nurse Prescribers, Certified Nurse Midwife, Licensed Midwife, Expanded Function Dental Assistant, Advanced Dental Assistant, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Dental Hygienist, Expanded Function Dental Auxillary, Registered Nurse Practitioner, Licensed Psychiatric Technician Nurse, Certified Nurse Practitioner, APRN - Certified Nurse Midwife, Advanced Practice Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurse, Forensic Nurse-CSA, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Psychiatric Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dentist, Registered Nurse, Podiatric Physician, Long-Term Care Facility Administrators, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Licensed Nursing Assistant, Physician Assistant, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Respiratory Therapist, Nursing Home Administrator, Community Dental Health Coordinator, Dental Technician, Respiratory Care Practitioner Critical Care, Respiratory Care Practitioner, Dental Lab, Certified Nursing Assistant, Respiratory Care Practitioner Non-Critical Care, Denturist, Pharmacy Technician, Registered Dental Assistant, General Dentist, Dental Assistant Radiographer, Dental Assistant

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to: 

  1. Describe the scope of the drug abuse epidemic in the United States. 
  2. Describe the differences between drug misuse, drug abuse, and addiction. 
  3. Identify how controlled substances are classified according to schedules and provide examples of drugs on each schedule. 
  4. Identify commonly misused and diverted drugs as well as sources for diversion. 
  5. Describe behaviors that could indicate drug misuse or diversion on the part of a patient or doctor. 
  6. Identify risk factors for drug misuse or diversion. 
  7. Identify best practices that prescribers can implement to prevent drug misuse or diversion.

Course Preview


  • The Scope of the Drug Abuse Epidemic 
  • Drug Misuse, Abuse, and Addiction Defined 

Overview of Schedules of Controlled Substances 

  • Commonly Diverted and Abused Drugs 
  • Common Drug Diversion Techniques
  • Risk Factors for Drug Diversion and Abuse 

Chronic Pain and Controlled Substances 

Mental Illness and Controlled Substances 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Controlled Substances 

Prescribing Emergency Opioid Antagonists

  • What Is Naloxone?
  • Increasing Naloxone Awareness and Use
  • Engaging Patients in a Conversation About Naloxone
  • Reducing Stigma Surrounding Naloxone

Preventing Prescription Drug Diversion and Abuse 

Nonpharmacological Therapies

  • Chronic Low Back Back
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Tension Headache
  • Differential Efficacy
  • Harms

Nonopioid Medications for Pain

  • Interventions

Responsible Prescription of Controlled Substances 

Prescribing Guidelines for Controlled Substances 

  • CDC Prescribing Guidelines
  • Determining Whether or Not to Initiate Opioids for Pain
  • Selecting Opioids and Determining Opioid Dosages
  • Deciding Duration of Initial Opioid Prescription and Conducting Follow-Up
  • Assessing Risk and Addressing Potential Harms of Opioid Use
  • Management of Opioid Misuse That Does Not Meet Criteria for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Pain Management for Patients with Opioid Use Disorder


Additional Information

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 2.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 3.00 Contact hours
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Mocingbird Member cost:


John Francis Villa, MD, FACEP, FAAFP is an Emergency Medicine Specialist in Florida with more than 25 years in emergency medicine and family medicine.


AchieveCE is an approved provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Georgia Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. GNA Approved Provider Number is 4003268.

  • Arkansas State Board of Nursing
  • California Board of Nursing
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing Assistive Personnel
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Nursing Home Administrators
  • Georgia Board of Nursing
  • Kansas State Board of Nursing
  • Kentucky Board of Nursing
  • Michigan Board of Nursing
  • Mississippi Board of Nursing
  • New Mexico Board of Nursing
  • New Mexico Certified Nurse Midwives and Licensed Midwives
  • North Dakota Board of Nursing
  • South Carolina Board of Nursing
  • West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses
  • Wyoming Board of Nursing

Nursing Home

AchieveCE is an approved provider (Provider #50-20641) of continuing education for long term care facility professionals. 

  • Georgia State Board of Long-Term Care Facility Administrators


AchieveCE is an approved provider (Provider #50-20641) of continuing education for midwifery professionals. 

  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • New Mexico Certified Nurse Midwives and Licensed Midwives


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Continuing Education Company, Inc. and AchieveCE. Continuing Education Company, Inc. is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Continuing Education Company, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Release Date: 3/6/2024

Expiration Date: 3/6/2025 (Date after which this enduring material is no longer certified for credit.)

Medium: Enduring Material

Available Credit

  • 2.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
  • 3.00 Contact hours


Mocingbird Member cost:
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Mocingbird members get an additional 10% discount on all AchieveCE courses. Use the discount code "MOC10" to claim the additional 10% discount before you check out from your cart.

To take this course you will be redirected to AchieveCE's website. Simply create a free account with AchieveCE in order to complete this activity. You can even use your same Mocingbird username and password to create the account.

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