Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain
In March 2016, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for primary care physicians who prescribe opioids for chronic pain. These do not pertain to physicians prescribing opioids for cancer treatment, palliative care, or end-of-life care. In January 2017, the North Carolina Medical Board adopted these guidelines, replacing the previous opioid position statement. In addition, the CDC has developed an infographic so that physicians can calculate the total safe daily dosage of opioids.

In response to the opioid crisis, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Resources has released a free mobile app to support medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder.  Targeted to physicians, the app includes information on medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of opioid use disorder and treatment approaches for practitioners; clinical support tools, such as treatment guidelines, ICD-10 coding, and continuing education opportunities; and access to critical helplines and SAMHSA’s treatment locators.  Go to to download a copy of the app.

SAMHSA also offers continuing medical education courses for physicians on prescribing opioid medications. For information about SAMHSA-supported opioid prescribing courses, contact the following SAMHSA representative:

Anthony Campbell
Medical Officer, CSAT/DPT
SAMHSA Division of Pharmacologic Therapies
240-276-2702 sends e-mail)
Contact SAMHSA.