Controlled Substance Prescribing Pharmacology for APRN

Controlled Substance Prescribing Pharmacology for the APRN

(Initial Application for Prescriptive Authority)

This course will help APRNs meet the continuing education requirement for initial expanded prescribing authority as mandated by Nurse Practice Act 898 (passed in 2004) which grant expanded prescribing authority to APRNs for Schedule Drugs III-V.

Who should take this course: This course is designed for the target audience of APRNs who need to make initial application for expanded prescribing authority that includes controlled substances. This course will provide 15 CSH (Controlled Substance Pharmacology Hours) for the APRN.

Cost: Non-Consortium Members $400.00 (Includes Certificate)

Consortium Members $250.00 (Includes Certificate)

Refund:  1/2 of the registration fee will be refunded if request is received within two weeks of registrations and there has been limited access to the course and the course has not been completed.  Once the course has been completed there are no refunds.

Course Description: This continuing education course is designed to provide an update on controlled substance (CS) prescribing within the role and scope of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).The content will include legal issues, drug mechanism of action, patient selection, monitoring, prescreening, and classes of CS drugs (both opioids and nonopioids).In addition, information and guidelines relating to specific clinical entities normally managed with CS drugs will be reviewed, as well as topics in substance use disorder, drug diversion, pseudoaddiction, and the impaired provider.

Learning Outcomes:   Upon completion of this course the APRN will:

  1. Be aware of the federal and state laws and/or regulations associated with prescribing controlled substances, including appropriate evaluation, monitoring, and documentation.

  2. Have knowledge about opioids, including physiological action and drug schedules.

  3. Have knowledge about nonopioid CS drugs, including selected classes of drugs such as anabolic steroids, sedative/hypnotics, and anorexiants.

  4. Be able to utilize current practice guidelines in the evaluation and management of patients presenting with pain, including awareness of both acute and chronic presentations and special pain syndromes.

  5. Recognize prescriptive issues with CS drugs across the lifespan and other subpopulations such as those with cancer, psychiatric diagnoses, and headache.

  6. Recognize signs and symptoms and have knowledge of management of pseudoaddiction, opioid hyperalgesia, windup pain, and other topics associated with pain management.

  7. Select prescreening tools to employ in practice for the purpose of stratifying risk to minimize drug diversion.

  8. Be aware of the criteria for substance use disorder and management strategies for this diagnosis.

  9. Recognize the behaviors associated with the impaired provider and be aware of recommended strategies for intervention and opportunities for remediation.

Outline of Learning Modules:

I. Overview of Controlled Substance Prescribing
1) Legal issues and drug schedules (federal and state)
2) Documentation
3) Opioid and nonopioid CS drugs

II. Prescriptive Issues
1) Review of common clinical conditions managed with CS drugs
2) Considerations in subpopulations (lifespan, reproductive, cancer)
3) Patient evaluation and screening; drug selection by mechanism of action,pharmacodynamics,and pharmacotherapeutics; monitoring for effectiveness and toxicity

III. Abuse of Controlled Substances
1) Recognition of substance use disorder, pseudo-addiction,
2) Psychometric tools for prescreening prior to longterm CS
3) Recognition of risk behaviors relating to drug diversion and appropriate interventions
4) Peer impairment recognition and recommendations for intervention and remediation

Method of Learning:

  1. The course is fully online with instructor-created lecture notes and internet resources.

  2. Learning modules are organized in a logical progression of material so that content material supports later concepts and information.

Learning and Assessment Activities and Requirements for Successful Completion of the Course:

1.Participant progress in the course will be monitored by the instructor and satisfactory completion will require accessing all course learning materials

2.At the end of the course, the participant must complete a course exam with a grade of 80% or greater (taken and submitted for grading online)

3.At the end of the course, the participant is required to complete the Continuing Education (CE) evaluation (in the form of a short online quiz)

4.Once all requirements are met, the participant will be able to generate a dated certificate of completion

Computer Requirements:

  1. Computer with Internet access and web browser installed.

  2. Broad-band Internet access (SL, cable, T1, satellite) is recommended.

  3. Course notes are opened and read with the free software Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded at:

Conflict of Interest:

The planning committee and speakers have declared no conflict of interest.

Commercial Support:

There is no commercial support or sponsorship of this product.


Licensed Nurses:  Upstate AHEC is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This participant has earned 15 CSH (Controlled Substance Pharmacology Hours)

Disclosure Statement: Upstate AHEC’s conflict of interest policy requires speaker(s), the planning committee members, and all others in a position to control this activity of this program to disclose any real or apparent commercial financial affiliations related to the content of this presentation or materials.

Credit Statement: Upstate AHEC is accredited as a provider of Continuing Nursing Education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

The speaker(s), the planning committee members, and all others in a position to control this activity have signed a vested interest form declaring no conflict of interest in this activity.

 Provision of this education activity by Upstate AHEC does not imply endorsement by Upstate AHEC or ANCC of any commercial products displayed in conjunction with this activity.  

 Credit Requirements: To receive CE credit for completing this online course you must complete 100% of the material, receive at least 80% passing grade on post-test and complete the evaluation.

 Once you pass the post-test and complete the evaluation you will be able to print a certificate for verification of credit.

The process for enrolling in AHECU courses has changed. Please go to and click the blue AHECU/Distance Education block to register for online courses.  There is a tutorial on the web site if you need assistance with the registration process.