Clinical and Research News
Innovative Training Should Improve Pain Management
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 5 page 14-14

The new Prescribers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O) is up and running, with a variety of resources for clinicians. The program was developed by Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

McCance-Katz is also medical director of the Physicians’ Clinical Support System–Buprenorphine (PCSS-B), a national program funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (CSAT/SAMHSA) to provide training, mentoring, and educational activities for clinicians offering office-based treatment of opioid dependence. The PCSS-B has been operational since 2010.

When the Request for Applications for the PCSS-O came out, McCance-Katz worked with collaborating organizations and experts to explain the project and invite participation and then wrote the grant application, which was selected for funding by CSAT/SAMHSA. The grant was awarded in July 2011.

“We are working on multiple components at once, so much of this is under development,” explained McCance-Katz, who noted that APA and the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine have both launched their webinars. The American Dental Association, International Nurses Society on Addictions, and American Society for Pain Management Nursing have webinars scheduled in the near future.

One of the most interesting proposed aspects of the PCSS-O is the creation of “virtual patients,” with whom clinicians will be able to interact online, being developed by McCance-Katz with Ben Lok, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida.

In addition, McCance-Katz said she is working on a phone app/mobile Web site, which is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year.

“Our Peer Support Program has also launched, and we are screening mentors now. We hope to get a list serve up and running in the next few weeks,” she said.

“We want practitioners to know that there is a large consortium of national professional organizations supported by CSAT/SAMHSA that is working hard to develop educational materials, peer support, and novel approaches to learning to help clinicians increase their knowledge base in safe and effective use of opioid pain medications and in gaining an understanding of how to recognize and then safely and effectively treat opioid dependence should it occur in a patient. All of these materials will be available at no charge to clinicians,” said McCance-Katz. “We hope they will take advantage of all of these program components, with the goal of improving treatment for patients needing opioid therapies.”

The next webinar presented by APA will be Friday, March 30, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern time). Igor Elman, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a director of the Clinical Psychopathology Laboratory at McLean Hospital, will speak on “Psychological Management and Pharmacology of Patients With Chronic Pain and Depression, Schizophrenia, and PTSD.” More information about this webinar and other aspects of the PCSS-O is posted at www.pcss-o.org. inline-graphic-1.gif


The Prescribers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O) is a collaborative project that includes the following organizations:

  • APA

  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry

  • American Medical Association

  • American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine

  • American Dental Association

  • International Nurses Society on Addictions

  • American Society for Pain Management Nursing

Each of these organizations has a defined scope of work for the project including developing webinars and educational content in either safe and effective opioid prescribing or treatment of opioid dependence.

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