Substance Use Disorder

NCSBN announces an education initiative to respond to the complex disease of Substance Use Disorder and the opioid epidemic. The NCSBN initiative includes removing the cost barrier to two NCSBN Substance Use Disorder continuing education courses, as well as provision of other free written educational materials.

The Issue

Substance Use Disorder encompasses a pattern of behaviors that range from misuse to dependency or addiction, whether it is alcohol, legal drugs or illegal drugs. Opioid use has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Currently, more people die from fatal drug overdoses than motor vehicles.

Who is Affected?

Substance Use Disorder can affect anyone regardless of age, occupation, economic circumstances, ethnic background or gender. It is a progressive and chronic disease, but also one that can be successfully treated. However, published best medical practices cannot alone combat the Substance Use Disorder or the opioid public health epidemic. Only a multifaceted approach, including prescribers, regulatory authorities, pharmaceutical companies, employers, legislators, law enforcement, and the federal government has a chance at turning the tide of Substance Use Disorder and the opioid-related morbidity and mortality.

Current Approach

The current multifaceted approach to opioid misuse includes initiatives by the U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, the White House, various health care groups, and individual states.

Call for Action

The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently called for action to reduce opioid abuse via the implementation of evidence-based provider training programs on mental health, substance abuse and overdose prevention; risks and benefits of high-dose opioid therapy; alternatives to pharmacological pain treatment; and referral and treatment for suspected drug abuse.

NCSBN Response

NCSBN responds to the APHA call to action through an initiative to educate nurses and the public about substance use by removing the cost to NCSBN’s two Substance Use Disorder Continuing Education courses.  As well, all Substance Use Disorder resources (brochures, posters, and resource manual) can be ordered at no cost.