UH School of Nursing Part of Initiative to Teach Safe Prescribing for Opioids

Future Nurse Practitioners will Learn CDC Best Practices for Treating Chronic Pain

As part of academic nursing’s ongoing efforts to address prescription drug and opioid misuse across the U.S., the University of Houston School of Nursing will be incorporating into its curriculum new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain.

Rx dispensary - credit Jon ShapleyAccording to the CDC, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and new recommendations were recently issued for prescribing these types of medications. The UH School of Nursing is one of 191 nursing schools with advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) programs, joining an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) initiative, pledging to educate future nurse practitioners on these new CDC guidelines for safely prescribing opioids.

“We recognize that opioid abuse is a pressing public health issue, and it is critical that our family nurse practitioner students receive education on current standards,” said the UH nursing school’s dean, Dr. Kathryn Tart. “Dr. Kathleen Reeve leads the family nurse practitioner program at UH, where nursing students are taught how to write prescriptions. We take this commitment seriously to make sure our students have the appropriate knowledge and are taught very specifically about how to prescribe these medications. The updated CDC guidelines will augment existing requirements we already have in place for advanced education on prescribing opioids and using best practices to prevent opioid abuse and overdose.”

Generic Rx at TMC - credit Tom SheaMore than 2.1 million people in the U.S. are struggling with substance abuse related to opioid pain medicine. From 1999 to 2014, the most recent statistics available, more than 165,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids, making up at least half of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths. The new guidelines were established to address this issue.

“Pain management is a very complex issue. There are many factors that contribute to opioid overuse and misuse other than prescribing habits,” said Kay Reeve, the clinical professor in charge of this area and teaching the associated classes. “Our faculty will continue to educate students on the issues surrounding opioid abuse, as well as both the non-pharmacological and pharmacological methodologies for the management of acute and chronic pain across the lifespan, in accordance with all regulations and national guidelines.”

The AACN is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing, representing more than 780 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide. For a complete list of AACN member schools who have pledged, visit http://www.aacn.nche.edu/opioids.


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About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 42,700 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom.