Balancing Risk and Access to Opioids: The Role of the Pharmacist

Activity Preview

Both acute and chronic pain are highly prevalent and oftentimes prove difficult to manage optimally. In addition to nonpharmacologic modalities and adjuvant analgesics, opioids are frequently used for treatment of both conditions, despite compelling data existing only for their short-term use. Increased exposure of the population to opioids, combined with previous studies downplaying the risk of developing addiction, has arguably led to an unprecedented incidence of opioid-related abuse, diversion, overdoses, and deaths. Today’s pharmacist must understand the risk factors for opioid abuse and overdose, signs of substance use disorder, and risk mitigation strategies while providing care to patients in pain and maintaining access to opioid analgesics for those who require them.

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the pharmacist will be able to:      

  1. Discuss the history, epidemiology, and pathophysiology of opioid use disorder
  2. Apply the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fifth Edition criteria to categorize mild, moderate, or severe opioid use disorder in a real or simulated patient
  3. Recognize the elements of an opioid risk mitigation strategy in an ambulatory or community pharmacy practice setting
  4. Calculate an opioid equianalgesic dose of a prescription for use in assessing safety of opioid analgesic prescriptions

Activity type: Knowledge-based
Target Audience
: Pharmacists
Learning level: 1

Accreditation Information

The American Pharmacists Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.  This activity is approved for 2.0 contact hour of CPE credit (0.20 CEUs). The ACPE Universal Activity Number for this activity is 0202-0000-17-137-H01-P.

To obtain 2.0 contact hour of CPE credit (0.20 CEUs) for "Balancing Risk and Access to Opioids: The Role of the Pharmacist" complete the assessment with a grade of 70% or better, evaluation questions, and CLAIM credit. Participants will need to have a valid username and password to claim credit. After your credit has been claimed, please visit CPE monitor for your transcript.

APhA continuing pharmacy education policy provides you with two opportunities to successfully complete this continuing pharmacy education assessment. Please note that the questions may not appear in the same order as printed, and you will not be permitted to submit the assessment a third time. The current policy of the APhA Education Department is not to release the correct answers to any of our CPE tests. This policy is intended to maintain the integrity of the CPE activity and the assessment.

Initial release date: April 1, 2017
Expiration date: April 1, 2020 - NO CREDIT GRANTED AFTER THIS DATE


"Balancing Risk and Access to Opioids: The Role of the Pharmacist” is a home-study continuing education activity for pharmacists developed by the American Pharmacists Association.


Christopher M. Herndon, PharmD, BCPS, CPE
Associate Professor
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, School of Pharmacy. 
Edwardsville, IL

Advisory Board

Jeffrey Fudin, BS, PharmD, DAAPM, FCCP, FASHP
President and Director
Scientific and Clinical Affairs
Remitigate, LLC


Jeffrey Fudin, BS, PharmD, DAAPM, FCCP, FASHP, declares that he has received honoraria from AstraZeneca (Speakers Bureau), Clarity (Consultant), Daiichi Sankyo (Advisory Board), DepoMed (Advisory Board, Speakers Bureau), Endo (Consultant, Speakers Bureau), Iroko Pharmaceuticals (Speakers Bureau), Kaleo (Advisory Board, Speakers Bureau), Kashiv Pharma (Advisory Board), KemPharm (Consultant), Millennium Health, LLC (Speaker), Remitigate, LLC (Owner), Scilex Pharmaceuticals (Consultant); Merck & Co., Inc.. 

Christopher M. Herndon, PharmD, BCPS, CPE, and APhA's editorial staff declares no conflicts of interest or financial interests in any product or service mentioned in this activity, including grants, employment, gifts, stock holdings, and honoraria. For complete APhA staff disclosures, please see the Education and Accreditation Information section at  

Conflicts of interest have been resolved through content review by Helen Sairany, PharmD, BCACP, Associate Director of Content Development at the American Pharmacists Association. 


There is no fee associated with this activity for members of the American Pharmacists Association. There is a $25 fee for nonmembers.

System Requirements

Computer and Internet access is required to complete this activity.  Please visit our website to view the Technology System Requirements to have a positive learning experience.

Credit Information

Activity Number Credit Amount Accreditation Period
ACPE# 0202-0000-17-137-H01-P 0.2 CEUs April 01, 2017 - April 01, 2020