Course Summary

The misuse of opioids is a serious public health problem in the United States and worldwide. The number of deaths due to acute overdose of opioids has increased over the past decade and a majority of the deaths from drug overdose have been reportedly due to the use of opioids. Ingestion of an opioid done to evade arrests and ingestion of sealed packages of opioids done to conceal the transport of large amounts of opioids has been widely reported. Clinicians should be aware of the individual opioid drug types available for clinical use and their drug action and toxicity. The pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, and treatment of acute opioid intoxication are discussed.

Course Format


Course Syllabus

  1. Introduction
  1. Overview of the National Crisis
  1. Pharmacology of Opioids
  1. Opioid agonists and antagonists
  2. Dextromethorphan
  3. Loperamide
  4. Opioid Drug Forms
  1. Types of Acute Opioid Overdose and Physiological Effect
  1. Central Nervous System
  2. Cardiopulmonary
  3. Types of Opioid Toxicity
  4. Buprenorphine and Absence of Ceiling Effect in Children
  5. Dextromethorphan
  6. Loperamide
  7. Methadone
  8. Tramadol
  1. Physical Examination, Diagnostic and Screening Tests
  1. Diagnostic and Screening Tests
  1. Treatment of Opioid Overdose
  1. Airway Protection, Oxygen Therapy, and Naxolone
  2. Gastrointestinal Decontamination
  1. Body Packing, Body Stuffing, and Ingested Fentanyl Patches
  1. Body Packing and Stuffing
  2. Ingested Fentanyl Patches
  1. Case Study: Opioid Overdose Diagnosis and Treatment
  1. Physical Assessment and Treatment
  2. Discussion
  3. Methadone Treatment and Opioid Use Disorder
  1. Summary


Dana Bartlett, RN, BSN, MSN, MA, CSPI

Dana Bartlett is a professional nurse and author. His clinical experience includes 16 years of ICU and ER experience and over 27 years as a poison control center information specialist. Dana has published numerous CE and journal articles, written NCLEX material, textbook chapters, and more than 100 online CE articles, and done editing and reviewing for publishers such as Elsevier, Lippincott, and Thieme. He has written widely on the subject of toxicology and was a contributing editor, toxicology section, for Critical Care Nurse journal. He is currently employed at the Connecticut Poison Control Center. He lives in Wappingers Falls, NY.

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