APNA Joins White House Effort to Address Opioid Misuse and Overdose Epidemic in Communities Across Nation

Falls Church, Virginia  October 21, 2015

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association has joined a White House effort, announced today, to address the ongoing epidemic of prescription drug abuse and heroin use across the nation. With organizations from both the public and private sectors participating, the effort seeks to train health care providers, improve access to treatment, and raise awareness of the risks of prescription drug misuse.

Approximately 2.3 million US citizens aged 12 and older have opioid use disorder, and most states have higher rates of treatment need than capacity to treat.1 In this context, educating health professionals and encouraging them to apply best-treatment practices is critical to improve the health of the nation. APNA is one of 8 nursing groups to pledge to be a part of the solution over the next two years. Nurses have been described as the “backbone” of the Opioid Treatment Program system of care,2 yet nurses may lack essential education in substance use disorders in general,3 and in the risks of opioid addiction specifically.4 Because nurses have frequent and regular contact with patients in numerous settings and levels of care, they are ideally suited to provide effective opiate interventions.

APNA has therefore committed to develop, provide, and disseminate educational interventions on the treatment of opioid use disorder.  This continuing education will be offered at no cost to our more than 10,000 members and beyond in webinar and/or interactive format.

Through the APNA Addictions Council, under the leadership of Matthew Tierney, PMHNP-BC, ANP-BC and Carol Essenmacher, DNP, C-TTS, APNA has sought to advance excellence in the prevention and treatment of substance use and addictive disorders. In our commitment  to the White House's effort we will draw upon the Addiction Council's national network of experts in mental illness and substance use disorders to develop this education. We are proud to support the critical role that our members play each day to address substance use and addiction in our communities.

The press release issued by the White House this morning, which notes APNA's participation, can be viewed here.

  1. Jones CM, Campopiano M, Baldwin G, et al. National and State Treatment Need and Capacity for Opioid Agonist Medication-Assisted Treatment. Am J Public Health.  2015;105(8), e55-63.
  2. Kub J. Interview with Sara Azimi-Bolourian.  J Addict Nurs. 2010;21:49-51.
  3. Kane CF. Essential Psychyiatric and Substance Use Competencies for the Registered Nurse: Crucial and Complex Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2012;26(2): 77-79.
  4. Costello M, Thompson S. Preventing Opioid Misuse and Potential Abuse: The Nurse’s Role in Patient Education. Pain Manag Nurs. 2015; 16(4): 515-519.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.