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substance and addiction prevention branch

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Health Care Providers

Improve Opioid Prescribing

Clinical practice guidelines help patients have access to safer, more effective pain treatment and reduce the risk of patient misuse or overdose from prescription opioids. For situations where the risks of opioids are greater than the benefits, reducing exposure to prescription opioids is a key part of prevention.

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Addiction Medicine Toolkit

This toolkit provides an overview of substance use disorders and the field of addiction medicine, including diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders, linkage to care, methods to reduce stigma, and communication strategies that foster trust and help to build a collaborative patient relationship. Free continuing education credit is available. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain

This resource (PDF) provides recommendations for prescribing opioid pain medication for patients 18 and older in primary care settings. The guidelines focus on prescribing opioids for treating chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care. Source: CDC

Clinical Tools for Pain Management

This webpage links to multiple resources from the CDC to help providers balance pain management options with the potential risks of prescription opioids. Resources include downloadable fact sheets, pocket guides, and checklists on topics such as non-opioid treatment for pain, assessing benefits and risks, tapering opioids, and calculating dosage.

Opioids and Chronic Pain: A Guide for Primary Care Providers (PDF)

This guide provides information on prescribing opioids for chronic pain, opioid stewardship, and information on opioid use disorder management. The Center for Innovation in Academic Detailing (CIAO) offers additional educational materials on opioid safety, naloxone, and academic detailing. Source: CIAO, in partnership with CDPH

Recommendations for Providers who Inherit Patients on Opioids (PDF)

For several reasons, including clinic closures and provider shortages, providers may inherit patients receiving treatment with opioid therapy. Providers are encouraged to consider these best practices in these instances: 1) Continue opioid therapy for patients in transition, 2) Develop a patient-centered, individualized care plan, 3) Use caution when tapering opioid therapy, 4) Document patient care decisions, and 5) Prescribe buprenorphine when appropriate.


California's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

The Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) is a database of Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in California serving public health, regulatory oversight agencies, and law enforcement. CURES aims to reduce harmful and illegal use and diversion of prescription medications, without interfering with appropriate prescribing.

CURES helps health care providers make informed prescribing and dispensing decisions to reduce prescription medication misuse, lower the risk of substance use disorders, and prevent opioid overdoses and deaths.

In April 2022, DOJ released the optimized CURES (PDF) to provide an improved user interface and new system features. New CURES users need to register. Existing CURES users are not required to re-register.

CURES Registration and Access

For assistance with CURES 2.0 registration, access, or system use, contact the CURES helpdesk at or (916) 210-3187.


Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat opioid use disorders (OUD) and sustain recovery efforts. During an initial assessment between the MAT provider and patient, treatment options are discussed to create shared decisions. Learn more about the treatment process and locate treatment services.  

There are three medications approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of OUD: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.  All three medications are safe and effective in combination with counseling and psychosocial support.

Learn more about co-occurring disorders and other health conditions in individuals in MAT for substance use disorders.

Removal of DATA Waiver (X-Waiver) Requirement

As of December 29, 2022, with the signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (the Act), Congress eliminated the "DATA-Waiver Program." A DATA-Waiver (X-Waiver) registration is no longer required to treat patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder.  Going forward, all prescriptions for buprenorphine only require a standard DEA registration number. The previously used DATA-Waiver registration numbers are no longer needed for any prescription. There are no longer any limits or patient caps on the number of patients a prescriber may treat for opioid use disorder with buprenorphine.

MAT Works

MAT is effective and significantly reduces the need for inpatient detoxification services. MAT provides a comprehensive, individually tailored program of medication and behavioral therapy to support the "whole-patient" adopt a self-directed life. Learn more about MAT at Choose Change California.

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