Patient, Family and Caregiver Education

Patients may not be aware of the risks of taking opioids or when and how to seek help if they are concerned about opioid use disorder. These tools can be used by practitioners to help educate patients about opioid therapies and their potential adverse side effects, including opioid use disorder. These tools also provide nonopioid pain management techniques.

  • Partnering with Patients and Families to Strengthen Approaches to the Opioid Epidemic (January 2019). IPFCC's latest White Paper, provides recommendations that support progress in which all efforts to address the opioid epidemic are planned and implemented with patients, families, and communities.
  • Getting the Right Help for Opioid Dependence or Withdrawal (January 2018). The Federal Trade Commission, in partnership with SAMHSA, has developed a new fact sheet to help those in need of treatment for opioid dependence or withdrawal. The new fact sheet, Getting the Right Help for Opioid Dependence or Withdrawal, provides information on how to obtain proper and safe help for the treatment of opioid dependence or withdrawal and is available in English and Spanish.
  • March of Dimes: Health Action Sheet (October 2017) This information sheet created by the March of Dimes includes a list of opioids and what to do if one if pregnant and using opioids.
  • Patient and Family Agreement on Opioids (2018). This resources was written specifically for patients, families, and visitors. It declares compassionately that the care team is committed to the patient’s recovery and wellness. It also provides a background information on opioids, addiction and recovery.
  • Dose of Reality Campaign: Prevent Prescription Painkiller Abuse in Nebraska. (February 2018). The American Medical Association (AMA) is launching a new digital tool kit as part of its ongoing efforts to improve access to high-quality treatment for patients seeking multidisciplinary pain care and for a substance use disorder. The tool kit will be used by the AMA and the nation’s medical societies to urge physicians to upload stories about their patients who encounter obstacles when seeking care for pain and/or a substance use disorder.

National Level

  • Learn About Civil Rights Protections for Persons in Recovery (October 2018). This new campaign will inform the public about civil rights protections that may apply to persons in recovery from an opioid use disorder and ensure that organizations are aware of their obligation to comply with federal nondiscrimination laws. A video, titled “Federal Nondiscrimination Laws and Opioid Use Disorders,” provides more information about the campaign.The video, along with fact sheets, postcards, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidance materials will be housed on a new OCR webpage dedicated to the opioid crisis.
  • Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids (2018). This webpage includes federal resources, resources on naloxone, facts and statistics, patient and family resources including the Spotlight on Opioids document which was created to better inform the general public, especially families and friends of people with an elevated risk of opioid overdose, opioid misuse, and/or opioid use disorder. Another resource on this webpage is the Surgeon General Postcard which gives action steps on what people can do to prevent opioid misuse.
  • Patient and Family Agreement on Opioids (2018). This resource created by the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association was written specifically for patients, families, and visitors. It declares compassionately that the care team is committed to the patient’s recovery and wellness. This document clearly states that facilities offer patients medications in order to keep them from going into withdrawal while they are hospitalized (and after discharge if they so choose). The document spells out the obligations of a patient’s family and visitors to help achieve this goal. Included in the document is a template agreement for the patient, as well as for family and visitors, to sign indicating their awareness of the hospital’s policies for searches and screening to prevent non-prescribed opioids being brought into a hospital.
  • Rx Awareness. (2017) The CDC launched a campaign to increase patient awareness about opioids. Resources include but are not limited to videos, online ads, and social media. All resources are
  • Information for Patients. (2017) The CDC has a number of resources to increase patient awareness. Additionally, this CDC/AHA handout is meant to foster communication with patients about the risks of using opioids, how they can monitor their own opioid use, and alternative treatment options.
  • Opioid Addiction Treatment: A guide for Patients, Families and Friends. (2016) This document provides facts about treatment from The American Society of Addiction Medicine. There are additional patient resources including a list of contact information for support groups and information on how to find treatment.
  • Taking Opioids Responsibly for Your Safety and the Safety of Others. (2012) This guide, authored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, provides patient information on long-term opioid therapy.
  • High-Alert Medications: Consumer Leaflets with Safety Tips. (2012) The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has created education materials to make consumers aware of high-alert medications. Pamphlets are available in English and Spanish for 11 different medications.
  • Effectively Communicating with Patients about Opioid Therapy. (2016). This webinar, part of the Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity Call series, discusses how to apply principles of motivational interviewing and describes a six-step process that is patient centered and supports clinical judgment when conflict arises.
  • Lock Your Meds Campaign. (2017) Lock Your Meds® is a national multimedia campaign designed to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they are the “unwitting suppliers” of prescription medications being used in unintended ways, especially by young people. Produced by National Family Partnership®(NFP), the campaign includes a wide array of advertisements, posters, educational materials, publicity opportunities, interactive games and slide show presentations, and this website, where visitors can learn more and ask questions.

Ensuring Patient, Family, Caregiver and Provider Education about the Risks of Opioids Case Examples