Maine Prescribing Laws, Limits and Compassionate Tapering

This module is intended to address the opioid-specific education requirements under Maine Public Law Chapter 21 and 488. Maine’s opioid prescribing law requires providers to limit the daily opioid dosages for chronic pain to patients. But how can providers meet this legal requirement while also limiting their patients’ distress? This online learning module reviews why tapering is important, common tapering scenarios, techniques for effectively and compassionately tapering opioid dosages, and office workflows around tapering.


Learning Objectives:   

At the end of this module, participants will better understand clinician burnout and compassion fatigue including:

  1. Prescribing Laws (Understanding Chapter 21 and 488)
  2. Understanding the principles of ethical and compassionate opioid tapering aimed at reducing unintentional overdose and suicide.
  3. Review opioid prescribing trends in Maine, across the U.S. and internationally.
  4. Understanding the services offered to prescribers in Maine through the Schmidt Institute’s Controlled Substance Stewardship Program.
  5. Understand the risk factors for opioid overdose and suicide.


Module Structure:

This module is self-paced and available to any user who registers with the Maine Medical Association, Center for Quality Improvement Learning Lab. The estimated time to complete is approximately 90 minutes. The module consists 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 to obtain a CME Certificate or a CME Certificate of Participation.

The Maine Medical Education Trust designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity qualifies for 1.5 credits of the 3 CME credit requirement for opioid medication education found in P.L. 2015, Chapter 488, Maine’s legislation to address the opioid drug crisis.

This activity qualifies for 1.5 hours of the 8 hours of training on opioid or other substance use disorders and the appropriate treatment of pain required by the MATE Act.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Maine Medical Education Trust and Maine Medical Association, Center for Quality Improvement. The Maine Medical Education Trust is accredited by the Maine Medical Association Committee on Continuing Medical Education and Accreditation to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

None of the planners or presenters for this activity have relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Duration & Fee:  FREE for Maine Clinicians 

Estimated Time to Complete: 90 minutes

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

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. 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 the 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Please complete the evaluation survey at the conclusion of the learning module.

To Obtain a CME Certificate or a CME Certificate of Participation:

  • Complete the entire learning module.
  • Complete the pre-test, post-test, and Survey Monkey evaluation at the end of the module.
  • Earn a score of 75% or higher on the post-test in order to receive a certificate.

Upon completion of the evaluation in Survey Monkey, including the required demographic information, a CME Certificate will be emailed to M.D.s and D.O.s and a CME Certificate of Participation will be emailed to all other learners. These certificates will be emailed within 10 business days of completing the evaluation.

Table of Contents:  The units will consist of the following:

  1. Introduction
  2. Pre-Assessment
  3. Prescribing Laws (Understanding Chapter 21 and 488)
  4. Understanding Prescribing Trends
  5. Understanding how to Compassionately Opioid Taper & How to Discuss Tapering with Patients
  6. Free Support for your Practice
  7. Post-Assessment


Disclosures: The planners and presenters for this module have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Ben Townsend, Esq
Kozak & Gayer, P.A.

Noah Nesin, MD, FAAFP
Innovation Advisor
Penobscot Community Health Center

Amy Carter, BSHA-M
Maine Medical Association, Center for Quality Improvement

Marshall McLaughlin
Project Coordinator
Maine Medical Association, Center for Quality Improvement

Funding: This module is made possible by the generous support and funding from our partners at the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine.

  • FREE
  • Course Certificate