Benzodiazepine Use and Opioid Use: A Deadly Combination

This module is intended to address the opioid-specific education requirements under Maine Public Law Chapter 488. At the end of this module, users should understand the appropriate use of benzodiazepine, alternative to benzo use, why prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines is a deadly combination.


Learning Objectives:

At the end of this module, participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the prescribing trends and current state of benzodiazepine use as well as the impact of both short term and long term use
  • Understand the clinical indications and side effects of benzodiazepines.
  • Learn ways to reduce benzodiazepine prescriptions that participants can apply to their practice
  • Highlight alternatives to benzodiazepine medications and increase their understanding of non-benzodiazepine approaches to manage insomnia, agitation, and anxiety.
  • Understand why prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines together is a deadly combination.

Intended Audience:

All Maine Clinicians

Module Structure:

This module is self-paced and available to any user that registers with the Learning Lab. The estimated time to complete is approximately 60 minutes. This module will be eligible to grant 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) Credits.

The module will consist of multiple sub-sections or units and will contain various elements, including hyperlinks to readings and web resources, video lessons,  and pre- and post-assessments needed for CME accreditation.

Duration & Fee:

  • Estimated Time to Complete: 1 hour

(note: the module is divided into short digestible units [10-20 mins] which can be completed in small increments)

  • Registration Fee: FREE for Maine Clinicians
  • CME Credits Offered: 1.0

Hardware/Software Requirements:

  • Computer with Internet connection
  • Current version of Chrome, Firefox or Safari browser. You must have javascript enabled.
  • The quiz tool within the online modules are not fully compatible with smartphones or tablets. In order to avoid issues, such as answers not being recorded, we recommend using a computer to complete the pre- and post-tests.

Assessment and Grading:

This learning module begins with a Pre-Test that will test your knowledge and allow you to gauge your baseline understanding of the topics to be covered. Your pre-test score will not count toward your overall grade. At the end of the module, there is a Post-Test that will determine your final grade. A comparison of your Pre-Test score and Post-Test score will help to assess how much knowledge you’ve gained. You will have three attempts to complete the Post-Test. Your score must be 75% or better in order to receive a certificate for CME credit. Please complete the evaluation survey at the conclusion of the learning module.

This activity qualifies for 1.0 CME credits of the 3 CME credit requirement for opioid medication education found in P.L. 2015, Chapter 488, Maine’s recent legislation to address the opioid drug abuse crisis.

To Obtain CME Credits:

  • Complete the entire learning module.
  • Complete the Pre-Test, Post Test, and Evaluation Survey at the end of the module.
  • You must earn a score of 75% or higher on the Post-Test in order to qualify for CME credits. You will have three attempts to complete the Post-Test.
  • After confirming that the entire learning module is complete and you have received a score of 75% or higher on the Post-Test, a generic certificate of completion will be displayed and available for you for download.
  • The official CME Documentation Form will be available to download from within the evaluation survey, after you answer all the questions and enter in your contact information.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Pre-Assessment
  • What’s in Maine’s Medicine Cabinet
  • Overview of the need to reduce benzodiazepine use
  • Deadly Combination: Benzodiazepines and Opioids
  • How to Reduce benzo use in practice
  • Post-Assessment
  • Closing


Stephanie Nichols, Pharm.D, BCPS, BCPP
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice

Trip Gardner, MD
Former Chief Psychiatric Officer

Kayla Cole, CSM, CSP


  • FREE
  • Course Certificate