583 Prescription Drug Abuse & Misuse – Public Health Solutions

Registration Open

The Addiction Technology Transfer Center of New England , funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) at Brown University Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies, is offering a credited, on-line course on prescription drug abuse & misuse – public health solutions.

Medication abuse/misuse and related health consequences are a significant public health problem. In recent years, more than 20,000 persons died annually of a drug overdose in the United States. Opioid drugs, such as prescription pain relievers, were the most common substances associated with these deaths.

Recent studies have shown a rise in prescription pain medication-related poisonings managed in the emergency department and substance abuse treatment admissions for opioid addiction. Illegal distribution of prescription drugs has also been recorded by such agencies as poison centers and the United States National Drug Intelligence Center. Meanwhile, studies have documented a systematic under treatment of chronic and recurrent pain.

A successful prevention initiative balances appropriate dispensing of prescription pain medications to manage pain without the diversion of these medications. The prescription pain relievers have widespread availability and easy access; therefore, prevention is difficult.

Several communities have implemented promising medication abuse/misuse-related prevention programs. These public health modeled programs provide a continuum of services that focus on the overall population rather than address one individual at a time.

This course will overall review basic public health prevention theories and program development models and discuss what other communities have done to try to prevent medication abuse/ misuse and related health consequences. The participants will use public health tools and information to begin developing a prevention plan for their community.


Melissa Heinen is a registered nurse with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. She has over a decade of experience doing injury surveillance and injury and seven years in substance abuse prevention. She has worked for the Northern New England Poison Center; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Health Statistics; the Hennepin County (MN) Community Health Department and the United States Indian Health Service. In addition, she has volunteered for a number of local, regional and national committees and boards.

Ms. Heinen currently is the owner and director of Salus Consulting LLC based in Minneapolis, MN. In this role she provides public health technical assistance; trainings; and program management, development and evaluation services. Salus is Latin for health, safety and wellness.

Melissa is passionate about using science-based public health prevention practices. These basic public health principles can be applied to any social or health-related issue. Ms. Heinen believes that when done right, a public health program supports a community’s desire for health, safety and wellness.

Course Objectives

Participants will –

  • Describe the epidemiology of medication abuse/misuse and related health consequences.
  • List community risk factors for medication abuse.
  • Compare public health prevention program development tools.
  • Analyze various prevention strategies communities have implemented.
  • Utilize public health tools and information to begin developing a prevention plan for your community.

Course Requirements

This is a four-week course, beginning on November 21, 2011. Requirements are:

  • Required on-line reading (one hour per week)
  • Completion of pre and post test
  • Completion of weekly homework assignments (one hour per week)
  • Participation in the weekly course forum
  • Completion of an on-line course evaluation

*Please note that there are no real time events associated with this course. Lessons will be posted on the class home page on Tuesday and responses are due the following Monday. With the exception of the first weeks lesson which will be posted Monday with the responses due the following Monday. Assignments can be accessed at the participant’s convenience.

A full refund is available up until November 29, 2011 after which there will be no refunds.


$60.00 Certification

  • This four-week course, which begins on November 21, 2011, has been approved by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) for 8 educational credits. It is being provided by the Brown Distance Learning program, which is accredited as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider (#000151).
  • This course is approved by the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) for 8 Category 1 continuing education for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC’s). The CCB is an IC&RC affiliate.
  • The New York State OASAS does accept distance learning CEUs provided by institutions of higher learning for individuals pursuing or renewing a CASAC, CPP or CPS.
  • ATTC of New England DLP is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP ™) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (provider # 6463) 2 clock hours will be provided for this event.

*Combined certificates are available upon request.

Certificates will be mailed within two weeks to participants in the program for its duration who submit all required materials.

Please contact your local certification board to verify reciprocity or acceptance of The ATTC of New England’s Distance Learning contact hours.

To participate, you must have:

  • An E-mail address and the capacity to retrieve and send E-mail;
  • Access to World Wide Web (the following programs provide WWW access: Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Explorer)
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher is the preferred browser for ATTC of New England DLP online courses
  • The ability to navigate the World Wide Web
  • A basic understanding of how to use a computer and send and receive email


REGISTRATION DEADLINE: November 21, 2011 or when the course limit is reached.

To register for this course please log into your account or create your account then log into your account and click the Enroll in a New Course link at the bottom of your account page. On the Enrollment page select ‘583 Prescription Drug Abuse’ using the pull down menu and click on the enroll button. Having enrolled into the course you will be prompted for payment. You may make your payment online or by regular mail. To view payment information please use the payment policies.

For a list of current ATTC of New England Distance Learning courses, please go to the following site:


Please Bookmark this site for future references. Course announcements will be made via the ATTC of New England Online Course Announcement Listserve 6-8 weeks prior to the start of each course. If you would like to be subscribed to this list, please contact the ATTC of New England DLP at [email protected]

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