Strategies to Prevent, Mitigate & Manage Opioid Use

Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Rhode Island.

Last year, 314 Rhode Islanders died of accidental drug overdoses (Rhode Island Department of Health Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force statistics). And the CDC reports that 130 Americans every day suffer fatal drug overdoses involving opioids.

To reduce opioid overdose and provide support for individuals and families affected by overdoses, especially in Washington County, free trainings are available for front-line health care and behavioral health care professionals and paraprofessionals to develop techniques to employ prevention strategies in southern Rhode Island communities.

The curricula, designed by Rhode Island College Institute for Education in Healthcare’s social work experts, includes innovative training modules to enable front-line staff to more readily identify opioid use and misuse; offer prevention and treatment strategies to assist individuals who are at-risk or showing signs of opioid addiction; and share information with colleagues, including professional and paraprofessional direct support staff. The trainings feature individualized treatment modalities that will help providers support people in opioid recovery learn to utilize their individual gifts and talents; strengthen prevention management strategies; and incorporate alternative modalities such as yoga, mindfulness, physical fitness and social interactions. Take any session or all three -- but if you are choosing all three, know that they are cumulative and best in sequential order.

Session 1
Behavioral Health: Substance Use & Mental Health (4 hours)

This module addresses prescription and street drugs used illicitly. During the first half participants will learn the signs, symptoms and withdrawal concerns of the most common substances, including synthetic club drugs. Internet access to synthetic drugs, attention to drug use common among adolescents, and the effect on adolescent development is a focus. Using the DSM-5, participants build awareness of the definitions for addiction and dependency. Special attention is given to opiate use/addiction with a review of NARCAN as a means to prevent opiate overdose, death resulting. The second half addresses the incidence of co-occurring behavioral health needs. Mental health conditions that are co-morbid with substance use are identified and discussed. Trauma and PTSD are explored with attention to underlying behavioral health issues that often lead to self-medicating substance use. Cultural considerations are addressed, specifically at cultural practices that involve substances considered licit (alcohol) and illicit.

Learning Objectives
»Learn and identify the most common effects and symptoms of illicit substance use.
»Learn the short and long term effects of adolescent substance use.
»Learn the risks associated with prescription drugs that can lead to dependency. MAT will be addressed.
»Identify substances that could lead to death without medical-assisted detoxification.
»Learn and identify underlying mental health conditions that can lead to substance use as means of self-medicating negative symptomology.
»Learn and identify who is at risk for PTSD and complex trauma and the incidence of substance use to manage symptoms.
»Learn about the risks of adolescent substance use including the use of performance enhancing drugs,cannabis, and vaping both nicotine and cannabis.

Session 2
Frameworks for Professional Practice (4 hours)

Differential treatment is the focus of this module, which addresses evidence-based treatments that are also strength-based. The specifics of Motivational Enhancement Treatment (MET) are reviewed. Typical problems with MET are discussed, i.e., working with clients with personality disorder features or thought disorders. Participants are asked to bring questions or problems from their own practice using MET. The Trans-theoretical Model of Stage of Change is practiced in the training to assure participants’ comfort with using the model. Participants also have the opportunity to practice using a cost/benefit analysis, which is helpful for clients in learning their thoughts and feelings and increasing motivation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is explored to strengthen abilities and increase fidelity to this treatment modality. Included in this review is a practice session in developing and reviewing S.M.A.R.T. goals. The second half focuses on ethical dilemmas. Participants will engage in a discussion of discipline-specific codes of ethics, boundaries, self-disclosure, and the ever-increasing use of electronic media. The session concludes with a discussion of the ethical responsibility for self-care.

Learning Objectives
»Learn the elements of Motivational Enhancement Treatment and practice O.A.R.S. in session.
»Learn and use S.M.A.R.T. goals and practice in session.
»Identify evidence-based treatments for adolescents.
»Learn to use the MET tool: A Cost/Benefit Analysis.
»Increase knowledge on maintaining professional boundaries, identify remedies to professional ethical dilemmas.

Session 3
Strategies: Professional Practice & Treatment (4 hours)

This module identifies elements of evidence-based treatments not previously reviewed: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Internal Family Systems Therapy, and more. Discussion of level of care/”treatment fit” to afford the opportunity to consider specific issues and diagnoses, e.g., trauma, anger management, acute anxiety/depression, personality disorders, and thought disorders. Complex trauma in childhood and/or adolescence is included in the first part of this module. The second half focuses on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) patient placement criteria for substance users. The continuum of care from crisis management to hospitalization is explored with attention to community resources needed for crisis intervention. Through group discussion, participants consider the intersection and implications of the stigmatization of people with behavioral health disorders and those who contract medical issues related to their substance use, e.g., HIV, Hep-C. Participants build their understanding of treatments, MAT included, that assist people in developing long-term recovery.

Learning Objectives
»Learn the elements of evidence-based treatment to implement in their practice.
»Learn the short and long-term effects of complex trauma occurring in childhood and/or adolescence.
»Learn the six domains of ASAM criteria in order to better facilitate patient placement to the appropriate level of care.
»Learn about community resources, including medication assisted treatments and differential placement.
»Engage in discussion of long-term MAT and the controversies surrounding continued medical use of opiates.

Session 1 Behavioral Health: Substance Use and Mental Health
11/4/19 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
11/18/19 10:00 am - 2:00 pm SOLD OUT

Session 2 Frameworks for Professional Practice
11/21/19 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
11/25/19 10:00 am - 2:00 pm SOLD OUT
12/2/19 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Session 3 Strategies: Professional Practice & Treatment
12/5/19 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
12/9/19 10:00 am - 2:00 pm SOLD OUT
12/19/19 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The courses are free but registration is required. A $30.00 stipend will be awarded to the first 50 registrants who complete all three modules.
Completion of all 3 (12 hours) = 12 Social Work Continuing Education Hours

To register, go to:


Questions: Contact Tonya Glantz | 401-456-4626 |


P MessorePamela Messore, MSW, LICSW, LCDP, CAADC, is a skilled clinician and educator with over 25 years of behavioral health experience. She has served as a clinician and consultant in various settings including residential, schools, and outpatient programs in Providence and Woonsocket. Her clinical expertise encompasses work with children, adolescents and adults. She was recognized as the 2010 RI-NASW Social Worker of the Year in Addictions. She has shared her knowledge as an educator at Providence College’s social work department, and plays a critical role in shaping the profession in her supervision of MSW students and clinicians preparing for licensure as well as mentoring new practitioners. She has facilitated training and education related to mental health and substance use for behavioral health professionals, nurses, teachers, and parents.


This program is provided by the following partners: 

State Opioid Response ▪ South County
South County Prevention Coalition
R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals
R.I. Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, Westerly Education Center
Rhode Island College Institute for Education in Healthcare