Opioid Addictions and Substitution Therapy

Update your methadone training requirements a minimum of every five years with this approved program that is aligned with the Ontario College of Pharmacists guidelines for pharmacists dispensing methadone.




Pharmacists can play an important role when providing maintenance treatment to patients with an opioid addiction. This collection of modules will provide you with useful information and training on how to best manage and treat opioid addictions. It will focus on OAT by providing an overview on buprenorphine, methadone and naloxone, the three most common medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction.

It will provide pharmacists with the knowledge they need to confidently guide and counsel opioid users in pharmacy.

This year, a number of modules have been added to further your training on opioid addiction including:

  • Practical know-hows on operationalizing OATs in community pharmacies
  • Pandemic tips
  • New options in OAT – long acting buprenorphine formulations


These online modules qualify as approved training for pharmacists who dispense methadone and can be used as part of your training update. As indicated in the Ontario College of Pharmacists’ (OCP) Opioid policy, updates are required, at minimum, every five years. To complete the update requirement, the module “Policies guiding methadone dispensing in Ontario” must be completed, along with four other modules.

Please also note that these modules do not satisfy initial training requirements and do not replace the CAMH Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Course, which Designated Managers and pharmacists are required to take in order to provide OAT services.

This complimentary program is made available through funding from the Ministry of Health.

Learning objectives:

  • Identify risk factors for opioid use disorder and pain management options for patients in opioid agonist therapy
  • Know and identify the policies that pharmacists should refer to when dispensing methadone in Ontario
  • Identify the pharmacist’s role in harm reduction
  • Apply knowledge and discuss the pharmacist’s role in dealing with opioid cases

Course outline:

Mandatory Module:
  • Policies Guiding Methadone Dispensing in Ontario
Optional Modules:
  • Basics of buprenorphine
  • Chronic pain management part 1 – opioid pharmacotherapy
  • Chronic pain management part 2 – nonopioid pharmacotherapy
  • Dealing with difficult situations using communication techniques
  • Delisting of high opioids: clinical impact and considerations
  • Frequently asked questions about OAT – part 1
  • Frequently asked questions about OAT – part 2
  • Harm reduction in Canada
  • Introduction to methadone dispensing requirements in Ontario
  • Methadone and buprenorphine in patients with HIV
  • Methadone and buprenorphine in pregnancy and during lactation
  • Methadone maintenance: focus on drug interactions and patient safety
  • Methadone maintenance therapy in first nations
  • Methadone treatment patients with comorbid health problems
  • Missed doses in MMT in community pharmacy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • New options in OAT –long acting buprenorphine formulations
  • Operationalizing Ontario’s Patch-for-Patch Fentanyl Return program
  • Opioid substation therapy: adolescents and young adults
  • Pain management for patients receiving OAT 
  • Pandemic tips
  • Pharmacology of opioid agonist treatment
  • Preventing methadone dispensing errors and handling difficult dispensing questions
  • Practical Know-hows on operationalizing OATs in community pharmacies
  • Providing inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients
  • Safety and security of opioids and controlled substances dispensing
  • Take-home naloxone program in community pharmacies
  • Three faces of success: case studies for opioid agonist treatment
  • We are people first

Course at a glance:

  • Available until March 31, 2022
  • Online

Who should take this course:

Pharmacists who are interested in or currently dispensing methadone and want to meet the training update requirement set out by OCP.

Development Team:

  • Rose Fitzgerald, RPh
  • Dr. Rajesh Girdhair, MD
  • Dr. Joel Bordman, MD
  • Karen Ng, RPh
  • Dr. Kristen Dixon, MD
  • Dr. Michelle Klaiman, MD
  • David Greiss, RPh
  • Dr. Chris Cavacuiti, MD
  • Dr. Alice Ordean, MD
  • Mary Nelson, RPh
  • Dr. Roberta Crossman, MD
  • Laura Murphy, RPh
  • Maria Zhang, RPh
  • Cassandra Huck, RPh
  • Dr. Maurice Agha, MD
  • Andrew Tolmie, RPh
  • James Morrison, RPh
  • Chris Auger, OPP OCEB Prescription Drug Diversion
  • Kathleen Leach, RPh
  • Jenny Jiang, RPh