State’s pain, addiction medicine commission praised

Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education address curricula as part of TN Together plan to help end the opioid crisis in Tennessee  

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today praised the Commission on Pain and Addiction Medicine Education for identifying core competencies for Tennessee’s medical education institutions to ensure future doctors, nurses, dentists and other prescribers receive in-class training on how to best manage patient pain and properly treat addiction in response to the state’s opioid epidemic.

Haslam established the 19-member commission by executive order in January as part of the TN Together plan to fight opioid addiction in Tennessee. The commission submitted a report to the governor outlining 12 competencies for health care educators, as well as strategies to assure they are successfully adopted.

“The first-hand involvement of medical professionals was critical in this process, as they willbe the ones implementing these competencies to greatly enhance the effectiveness of our heath care provider training,” Haslam said. “This is just the first step in improving the training that our future prescribers receive around addiction and pain medicine, and we feel confident that this will make a difference as we continue to tackle the opioid crisis in Tennessee.”

The commission has been working since January to develop competencies for curricula so future prescribers receive instruction and training regarding:

  • Effective treatment for pain, including alternatives to opioids;
  • Potential risks of using opioids;
  • Proper identification of and treatment for patients who misuse or abuse opioids; and
  • The utilization of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.

The 12 core competencies include:

  • Epidemiology and population level;
  • Pain evaluation;
  • Pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment;
  • Practical aspects of prescribing and communication;
  • Conflict prevention and resolution;
  • Chronic pain plans;
  • Acute pain care for chronic pain patients;
  • Interoffice and interprofessional focus;
  • Substance use disorder risk evaluation;
  • Development of a treatment plan for the patient with substance use disorder;
  • Management of overdose risk; and
  • Professional and legal standards.

The adoption of the competencies is voluntary, but strongly encouraged by the commission, whose members include representatives from the state’s public and private medical education institutions, the Tennessee Department of Health, a broad group of professional associations, and licensed health care practitioners.

Haslam shared the report at an event on Thursday at the State Capitol and thanked the medical education institutions and organizations that have agreed to adopt and support the competencies.

The entire report and the names of the schools and associations that have agreed to adopt and support the competencies can be found at

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