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Opioid Treatment

State resources

Prescribing Guidelines

    • The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Department of Health developed and adopted guidelines for six medical specialties on the safe and effective use of opioids in the treatment of pain.  These six specialties are emergency departments, chronic non-cancer pain, dentists, geriatric, obstetrics and gynecology, and pharmacists.

Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC)

    • The Pennsylvania Client Placement Criteria (PCPC) for Adults are a set of guidelines designed to provide clinicians with a basis for determining the most appropriate care for individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). These guidelines give detailed guidance for special issues and populations that are important to ensuring that individuals receive optimal treatment placement.  They have been formulated to promote a broad continuum of care, which places individuals in the most clinically appropriate setting, while providing the best opportunity to efficiently utilize SUD treatment, intervention, and other community resources.

PA Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

    • As of January 1, 2017 (PDF), all licensed prescribers who are lawfully authorized to distribute, dispense, or administer a controlled substance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are required to register with this program. This does not include veterinarians. This program helps prevent prescription drug abuse and protects the health and safety of our community, Pennsylvania's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PA PDMP) collects information on all filled prescriptions for controlled substances. This information helps health care providers safely prescribe controlled substances and helps patients get the treatment they need.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

    • Pennsylvania physicians must take two hours of education in pain management, identification of addiction, or safe opioid prescribing in order to renew their medical license in 2018. Physicians seeking a Pennsylvania medical license for the first time need to take two hours of education in pain management or identification of addiction AND at least two hours of education in safe opioid prescribing.
    • Note: If you wish to submit verification for licensure purposes, the documentation/certificates you receive after completing this course should be submitted to your respective credentialing board.
    • PAMED has developed online CME to help physicians meet those requirements.

More information on Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs


Centers of Excellence

    • Centers of Excellence (COEs) help ensure that people with opioid-related substance use disorder (SUD) stay in treatment to receive follow-up care. A COE provides community support. The centers coordinate care for people with Medicaid. The treatment is team-based and “whole person” focused, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care. Locate a COE.

Prescription drug take-back boxes

Prescription drug take-back boxes greatly reduce the amount of prescription drugs available for potential misuse and abuse. Locate a drop box.


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