Nursing: Overdose, Addiction, and Withdrawal Management

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About the Course

Opioid addiction and overdose is a widespread epidemic throughout the United States. Nurses have a unique role to provide both medical and supportive care, as well as social and emotional support. This course provides a comprehensive overview of opioid pharmacology, risk factors for addiction, individual and public health consequences of addiction, as well as detailed prevention and treatment modalities for opioid addiction. Common opioid-related terminology for use and addiction and pharmaceutical and street formulations is presented. The course will help nurses to quickly identify signs and symptoms of acute withdrawal and overdose and learn how to educate patients who are given opioids in both the inpatient and outpatient settings related to risks for side effects, dependence, and addiction. 

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Describe the basic pharmacological process of opioids and understand the difference between opioid agonists, partial-agonists, and antagonists.
  • Explain the difference between opioid tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
  • Describe the symptoms of opioid withdrawal syndrome.
  • Identify early childhood experiences that are risk factors for development of chronic diseases. 
  • Define neuroadaptation and explain long-term effects of opioids on the brain.
  • Recognize the role of the nurse in promoting the theory of prevention as it applies to opioid addiction.
  • Define two risk factors and two protective factors for substance abuse.
  • Learn to advocate for the patient population at-risk for opioid abuse and overdose by having a clear understanding of the neurobiology of addiction and educating others in the nursing community.

About the Author:
Amanda LaManna, MSN, NP-C, WHNP-BC

Amanda LaManna, MSN, NP-C, WHNP-BC is a nurse practitioner living and practicing in Rochester, New York. Ms. LaManna has worked in emergency medicine for the past 4 years and currently works at the region's level I trauma and tertiary care center. She also works as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). Ms. LaManna graduated in 2011 from Yale School of Nursing, where she completed a master's degree specializing in both adult and women's health. Prior to working in emergency medicine, she worked in the pain management specialty with a physician committed to reducing the excessive use of opioids for chronic pain. 

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