DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastOpioid Misuse Prevention
Opioid Misuse Prevention

Opioid Misuse Prevention

Update: 2020-09-30


Opioid Misuse Prevention

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP

AllCEUs Counselor Education

CEUs available at:


– Identify the types of prevention

– Learn the steps in prevention

– Understand why people use opioids

– Explore the connection between pain and mood disorders

– Identify 5 prevention strategies

Prevention Types

– Primary—Prevent people from developing a problem in the first place

– Secondary—Prevent the problem from getting worse

– Tertiary—Prevent the development of additional issues (HIV, homelessness, stroke)

Steps in Prevention

– Raise awareness of an issue

– Change what people know, believe, and think about the promoted behavior

– Teach the skills needed to perform the behavior

– Build a person’s confidence in his or her ability to perform a specific behavior in a particular situation

– Provide support for sustaining a new behavior

Understand the Reasons People Use

– Acute pain management

– Chronic pain management (including autoimmune issues)

– Anxiety reduction

– Depression reduction

– Withdrawal (refractory pain)

Pain, Anxiety & Depression

– Anxiety activates the HPA-Axis which can increase inflammation and trigger autoimmune issues and depression

– Depression without anxiety is also associated with increased inflammation and pain.

– Ketamine (anesthetic) is used in pain relief and shown significant promise in treatment of acute suicidality

Pain, Anxiety & Depression

– Reducing Inflammation

– Emotional Regulation (HPA-Axis)

– Anti-inflammatories

– Improved nutrition

– Reduction of highly processed foods, increase raw fruits/veggies

– Vitamin D

– Vitamin C (immune system, inflammation, cartilage)

– Vitamin E (nuts and seeds)

– Omega 3

Prevention Strategies

– Improving Health Literacy (social media, schools, MSM)

– Physical (vulnerability prevention, pain management)

– Affective

– Cognitive: Teaching psychological flexibility and CBT skills

– Environmental

– Relational (Interpersonal skills)

Prevention Strategies

– Development of opioid alternatives

– Pain Reform extended release local anesthetic

– CBD Oil

– Gabapentin

– Muscle relaxants

– Antiepileptics (i.e. Lamictal)

– Acupuncture

– Chiropractics

Prevention Strategies

– Management of mood disorders and other SUDs

– Screening for and addressing mood and addictive disorders in all people at annual physical

– Improve access to MH and SUD treatment

– Addressing macrosystem issues contributing to opioid misuse

– Conservative Prescribing (and reducing expectation)

– Accessibility/availability (drug take back, parental control, injectables to reduce diversion)

– Improve drug screening protocols and drug free workplace policies at all organizations and in high school and collegiate athletics

– Make public assistance benefits dependent upon being drug free OR actively participating in a treatment program

– Enhancing community connectedness


– Harm reduction (tertiary prevention)


– Needle exchange programs

– Naloxone

– Provider education and guidelines

– Collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches required by insurance and taught in graduate school


– Opioids have a place for acute pain management

– Opioids have also been associated with reductions in anxiety and depression

– Dependence and tolerance develop quickly

– Currently opioids are very easily diverted

– Prevention needs to focus on all of the reasons people abuse opioids including stress and anxiety management, depression, and pain









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Opioid Misuse Prevention

Opioid Misuse Prevention

Charles Snipes