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  • Nursing
  • Psychiatric Technicians
Hours: 2 Contact Hours
Author(s): Paula Davies Scimeca, RN, MS, CARN
Peer Reviewer(s): Colleen LaBelle, BSN, RN
Item#: N1648
Contents: 1 Course Book (72 pages)
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Prescription Drug Abuse: Scope, Prevention, and Management Considerations for Nurses

Price $16.95
Item # N1648
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with accreditation criteria, credit will not be awarded for completion of this course beyond 9/30/2018.

Expiration Date: September 30, 2018

Abuse of prescription drugs has been labeled a national epidemic. It crosses boundaries of gender, age, race, educational and professional distinctions, and socioeconomic status. Nurses administer medications to patients for the control of pain. Initially prescribed to help alleviate pain, narcotics are among those that carry the highest risk of dependence and abuse. Pain is often an unavoidable sequela to invasive medical procedures as well as untreated or long-standing chronic and acute injuries, diseases, or conditions. Balancing the desire to alleviate pain against the suspicion of drug seeking behavior is just one issue that confronts nurses. This course provides nurses with the scope of prescription drug abuse and governmental efforts to combat it. Applying the pharmacology of the most commonly abused drugs, the risk factors for developing addictive behaviors, and the manner in which these medications are commonly acquired, nurses will be able to contribute to the assessment and management of this growing problem and better care for their patients and their communities as informed prevention advocates.


Rhode Island Nurses – Fulfills your 2-hour substance use and abuse requirement.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the history and scope of prescription drug abuse and the role of the nursing professional.
  • Define the terminology used in discussing prescription drug abuse.
  • Explain the pharmacology, physiology, and regulatory control of the prescription drugs that are most commonly abused and the extent and impact of their nonmedical use.
  • Describe the populations most at risk for abusing prescription drugs and their access to these drugs.
  • Describe best practices regarding the initiation of treatment and management of patients prescribed opioid-based therapies for chronic pain.
  • Discuss the tactics and resources available to manage and prevent prescription drug abuse in nurses and patients.

Paula Davies Scimeca, RN, MS, CARN, received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, and her master’s degree in psychiatric/mental health nursing from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. With nearly 40 years of nursing experience, she has written two books on the topic of addiction and recovery in nurses, and has been appointed to the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services’ (OASAS) Nurse Advisory Panel. Ms. Scimeca sits on the Board of Trustees of the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) Foundation for Addictions Nursing (FAN) and presents internationally on the topic of addiction as it pertains to the nursing profession.

Colleen LaBelle, BSN, RN, is board certified in addiction nursing, pain management, and HIV, and has more than 30 years of clinical experience in HIV and addiction. She is the director of Massachusetts’ State Technical Assistance Treatment Expansion Office Based Opioid Treatment with Buprenorphine (STATE OBOT B) program, working with 17 community health centers implementing a nurse care manager model for the expansion of the use of buprenorphine, and supports additional health centers and community settings with training and technical support. In May of 2011, she was the recipient of an Individual Leadership Award for Innovation in Health Care from the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, as well as the 2011 Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) recipient of the Innovations in Behavioral Health Services award for Process Improvements. In 2014, Colleen and her team were recognized by the Boston Medical Center for providing exceptional care to people with addictions. She is board member of the International Nurses Society on Addiction (IntNSA) Addictions Nursing Certification Board, and in 2011 she started the Massachusetts Chapter of IntNSA, where she serves as the executive director. In 2015, Colleen served on the Governor’s Task Force for Opioids, with the goal of developing a strategic plan to address the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. 

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.