Skip to Main Content

MSUD Training for Nurses

Free & Online!

MSUD: Medications for Substance Use Disorders

FREE 8-Hour MSUD Training for Nurses = 8 Hours of NCPD Pharmacology Contact Hours

This free course, released in August 2023, is jointly provided by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), and Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS). The APNA MSUD Training for Nurses features 9 modules with content for nurses offering medication — including buprenorphine — for persons with substance use disorders.

Complete this free education to:

  • Meet the DEA educational requirement to prescribe medication for opioid use disorder
  • Earn 8.0 pharmacology contact hours
  • Update your knowledge on laboratory testing, screening and assessment strategies, pain management, medications to treat opioid use disorder, and the challenges of treatment of older adults and pregnant persons with an SUD diagnosis

Learn More & Register


Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant no. TI-23-014 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Effective Treatments for Opioid Use Disorders
Free nursing continuing professional development: This continuing educational activity was developed by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association to provide education to all nurses regarding the epidemic of opioid use in the U.S. and to answer the question, What can nurses do?” to address this growing problem. Almost 4 million nurses can make a difference!

Opioid Response Network – Lessons Learned, Promising Models, Education
A coalition of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and 27 national professional organizations, including APNA. This two-year SAMHSA grant helps to provide technical assistance (TA) to states and territories to enhance efforts already underway throughout the United States and territories. ORN provides training and technical assistance via local experts across the country, focusing on applying evidence-based practices in prevention, treatment and recovery to meet locally identified needs.

Providers Clinical Support System – Education, Mentoring, Clinical Resources
A national training and clinical mentoring project developed in response to the opioid use disorder crisis. With resources and training developed for primary care providers, the overarching goal of PCSS is to provide the most effective evidenced-based clinical practices in the prevention of OUD through proper opioid prescribing practices, identifying patients with OUD, and the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Current Status

As of June 2023: The current DEA practice guidelines require Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who have or are applying for Schedule III authority to complete an 8-hour MSUD: Medications for Substance and Opioid Use Disorder course (8 hours of education on the treatment of persons with a substance use disorder diagnosis).

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 enacted a new one-time, eight-hour training requirement for all DEA-registered practitioners, except veterinarians, on the treatment and management of patients with opioid or other substance use disorders. Learn More

(January 2023) DEA X-Waiver Requirement Eliminated
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has announced that there is no longer a requirement for an X-Waiver (or DATA 2000 Waiver) to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD), if the practitioner:

  • Holds an active DEA license to prescribe controlled substances
  • Is allowed to prescribe under their state nursing practice act and regulation

All practitioners who have a current DEA registration that includes Schedule III authority, may now prescribe buprenorphine for OUD if permitted by applicable state law. Limits to the number of patients for which a practitioner can prescribe buprenorphine for OUD have also been removed.

The DEA and SAMHSA are developing further guidance and new training requirements will be issued in June. APNA is monitoring this issue and will continue to keep you updated of any developments.

(2021) In accordance with 2021 changes in practice guidelines for administering buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) are required to apply to the Drug Enforcement Agency for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine. To treat more than 30 patients, providers must complete 24 hours of specialized training to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

(November 2019) Update from Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) meeting:

At its October 31, 2019, meeting, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) presented its findings on the impact of authorizing NPs and PAs to obtain a waiver to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The presentation highlighted that this authorization in CARA increased access to treatment for patients in need of MAT. This increase in access was most pronounced in the Medicaid population, and nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) made up a higher proportion of rural waived providers. The presentation also noted that the increase in access was greatest in full practice authority states. This data shows that authorizing NPs to prescribe MATs is crucial to combat the opioid epidemic, but state barriers to practice lead to inequality in access to this important treatment. Access the slides presented by MACPAC.

(August 2017) Clarification received from SAMHSA:

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may use their waiver to prescribe buprenorphine products for the treatment of opioid use disorder in any healthcare setting including OTPs. However, the healthcare setting or employer, OTP or otherwise, is free to establish by policy which services are to be provided and by which professionals. Any practitioner who uses the waiver to treat patients must comply with their patient limit regardless of the treatment setting. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants may order buprenorphine or methadone for administration or dispensing from an OTP without a DATA waiver, but must receive an exemption from SAMHSA to make dose and administration adjustments.

(May 2017) Updates to the three aspects of the MAT waiver process for APRNs: the required 24 hours of education, the process for issuing MAT waivers, and the regulations for implementing the CARA 2016 legislation.

  • Educational Content for Required Training
    PCSS-MAT waiver training coursework has been released. Access the course here free of charge.
  • OMB Approval of MAT Waiver Issuance Process
    From SAMHSA Website as of February 28, 2017:

NPs and PAs who have completed the 24 hours of required training may seek to obtain a DATA 2000 waiver for up to 30 patients by completing the Waiver Notification Form. Effective February 27, 2017, SAMHSA will only accept electronic submissions of the NOI. NPs and PAs may send copies of their training certificates to or faxed them to 301-576-5237.

These waiver applications will be forwarded to the DEA, which will assign the NP or PA a special identification number. DEA regulations require this number to be included on all buprenorphine prescriptions for opioid dependency treatment, along with the NP’s or PA’s regular DEA registration number. SAMHSA shall review waiver applications within 45 days of receipt. If approved, NPs and PAs will receive a letter via email that confirms their waiver and includes their prescribing identification number.

  • HHS Regulation to Implement CARA 2016
    No further HHS regulation is needed before eligible NPs or PAs with a properly authorized wavier can begin prescribing buprenorphine, subject to applicable statutory patient limits.