Course: Risk Management Focus: Prescribing Controlled Substances
Author: Rosemary Gafner and James Schutte
AMA PRA Category 1 credits: 3
Estimated Hours to Complete Course: 2.45
Estimated Minutes to Complete Test: 15
Course Release Date: 9/1/2017
Course Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
A guide to prescribing OPRs in the current opioid epidemic

NOTE: All Medrisk courses are approved for CME credit, but not all are approved for insurance discounts or medical board remediation. If you are enrolling in a course for an insurer, university or medical board, you should check with them to make sure that the course you are selecting is approved.

Risk Management Focus
Prescribing Controlled Substances


An area of mounting concern—and increasing scrutiny by legal and medical regulators—is the overprescribing of opioid pain medications, resulting in skyrocketing numbers of addicted patients, along with hospitalizations and deaths from overdose. The guidelines and regulations for prescribing opioids are being tightened in response, and doctors who fail to follow them are increasingly being targeted by plaintiff’s attorneys representing affected patients and their families. A physician’s narcotic prescribing practices are also facing increased scrutiny by legal and professional disciplinary authorities.



Upon completion of this course, a physician should be able to:

1.  Outline strategies for pain control that minimize the risk to patients of developing opioid dependency.
2.  Recognize signs of drug-seeking behavior, and how to manage such patients.
3.  Develop a step-down plan for allowing patients on long-term opioid therapy to gradually get off the drugs without going into withdrawal.

Target Audience


This course is appropriate for any doctor who prescribes controlled substances.



This is a self-study course consisting of text and CME test.  Physicians should read the course content, answer the test questions and submit the answers for scoring.  Those who complete the course with a score of 80 percent or higher will earn a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.


This course was developed by Rosemary Gafner, Ed.D. and James E. Schutte, Ph.D.  Their CVs are available at

CME Information

Medical Risk Management, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians.  Medical Risk Management, Inc. designates this  enduring material  for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is valid for release September 1, 2019 and expires on December 31, 2021.

Estimated time to complete this activity: 3 hours.

Commercial Support

This activity was developed solely by Medical Risk Management, Inc. without any commercial support.


Neither Dr. Gafner nor Dr. Schutte have anything to disclose.

Please check with your insurance carrier for approved courses before registering.  Courses not approved by your insurance carrier will not be accepted by them for any discounts they may offer.