A study conducted by the University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Sciences Center, and published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that a state-mandated program of continuing medical education (CME) for healthcare professionals is reducing opioid abuse and overdose rates. While many states have imposed new regulations governing specific prescribing practices, New Mexico chose to adopt CME requirements and in 2011, a diverse coalition was formed to develop chronic pain treatment and opioid addiction training.
The coalition developed a mandatory CME program requiring physicians and physician assistants to complete 5 hours of CME in pain and addiction before mid-2014. Lead study author Joanne Katzmann, MD, MSPH, is a UNM neurologist and director of the UNM Pain Consultation and Treatment Center. As a member of the PAINWeek faculty, she has lectured on the successful use of tele-education for remote providers. In this paper, she reports results of a survey of the mandated CME program that demonstrates a significant positive change in knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes on the part of clinician participants. Equally promising are reductions in the total morphine milligram equivalents of opioids dispensed in New Mexico since its peak in December 2011.
Read a news story about the findings, with link to the journal article, here.