Policy and Medicine (08/08/2021) Sullivan, Thomas
The recently introduced Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to require controlled substance providers to complete continuing education as outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bill designates such practitioners as all providers that are not "a hospital, pharmacy, or veterinarian." Training would cover best practices for pain management; alternative therapies to lower opioid use; best practices for diagnosing, treating, and managing substance use disorders; and tools for managing compliance and diversion of controlled substances. Waivers from the requirement are allowed for providers that complete accredited continuing prescriber education per conditions of their own state licensure that are substantially similar to training required under the legislation. They can also be exempt if required to attend similar mandated training or education on best practices in pain management and substance use disorder treatment for maintaining board certification. The bill further asks the Assistant Secretary of HHS for Mental Health and Substance Use to create or support the creation of at least one free online training module that meets such rules that can be supplied to any covered practitioner registered or applying for registration. The measure would also require HHS to establish, maintain, and update a publicly available database of information on such modules.