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 free modules have been added to further your training on opioid addiction including:

  • Opioid use disorder – Aberrant drug behaviours, poly substance use and psychiatric comorbidities
  • Pharmacology of OAT
  • Providing inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients
  • Take-home naloxone program in community pharmacies

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.

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:

  • Application of methadone guidelines to seemingly complex clinical situations – Part 1
  • 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 opioid agonist maintenance treatment – part 1
  • Frequently asked questions about opioid agonist maintenance treatment – part 2
  • Harm-reduction in Canada
  • How to handle missed doses in Methadone Maintenance Treatment in community pharmacy
  • 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 Indigenous communities
  • Methadone treatment patients with comorbid health problems
  • Motivational interviewing 
  • Operationalizing Ontario’s Patch-for-Patch Fentanyl return program
  • Opioid substation therapy: adolescents and young adults
  • Opioid use disorder - Aberrant drug behaviours, poly substance use and psychiatric co-morbidities
  • Pain management for patients receiving maintenance therapy for opioid addiction 
  • Pharmacology of opioid agonist treatment
  • Policies guiding methadone dispensing in Ontario
  • Providing inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients
  • Preventing methadone dispensing errors and handling difficult dispensing questions
  • 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 25/06/2021
  • 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