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Trending Topic: Finding controlled substances CME courses

UPDATE: Due to numerous problems with the online CDC opioid webinar series, NCMB has removed the link from its CME opportunities. Find the opioids webinar developed by NCMB and WakeAHEC, and links to other online CME opportunities here. Be sure to scroll down the page to see the CME links.

Now that 2017 is here, many physicians and physician assistants (PAs) are actively looking for continuing medical education (CME) courses that can help them satisfy the new requirement for controlled substances prescribers. Any prescriber whose CME cycle renews on or after July 1, 2017, will be expected to have met the new requirement.

Physicians who prescribe controlled substances (including non-opioids) must complete three hours of eligible CME during each cycle and PAs must complete two hours. These hours are part of the licensee’s total CME requirement for the cycle, not in addition to it.

One CME provider physicians and PAs should be aware of is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which currently offers seven free prerecorded modules on safe opioid prescribing. CME credit can be obtained after viewing or listening to any CDC module by completing an online evaluation and post-test. Titles offered include, “Assessing Benefits and Harms of Opioid Therapy,” “Dosing and Titration of Opioids,” “Risk Mitigation to Reduce Opioid Overdose,” “Effectively Communicating with Patients about Opioid Therapy,” and “Overview of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioid for Chronic Pain.” Courses are certified for credit through December 2017.

Find the series of CDC opioid modules at

Additional CME courses and information about the new controlled substances requirement can be found at

To support physicians and PAs, the Board has partnered with Wake AHEC to create free CME that will cover the required topics. CME will be available this spring and will consist of a webinar and four live panel sessions. NCMB will publish details about how to access this CME once details are set.

Will my CME qualify?
To count towards the new requirement, a course must:

  • Be Category 1 certified

  • Cover one or more of the following education topics:

    • 1.Controlled substances prescribing practices

      2.Controlled substance prescribing for chronic pain management

      3.Recognizing signs of the abuse or misuse of controlled substances

    Note: Each education topic must be covered at least once during each CME cycle. In other words, every course completed need not cover all three topics.