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The latest in substance use disorders and pain management education for healthcare providers

April 2024

Dear Anna,

Established in 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month is an annual observance that takes place in April. It is a time to raise awareness and understanding of alcohol misuse, alcohol use disorder (AUD), and alcohol-related problems. Alcohol misuse can lead to serious social and health issues such as unemployment, depression, and premature death; in fact, excessive alcohol use is the fifth-leading cause of preventable death in the United States with more than 178,000 deaths annually. Health professionals can play a pivotal role in helping people with AUD through screening, identifying treatments options, and providing personalized care that meets individual needs. The MACS team of addiction medicine specialists can offer support and guidance to providers caring for individuals who have AUD. 


This month is also National Minority Health Month, an opportunity to increase public knowledge about the health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minority and diverse populations. It is also a time to reflect on the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic groups and reducing disparities in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Racial and ethnic minority individuals have more unmet needs for SUD treatment services and experience worse treatment outcomes compared to non-Hispanic White Americans. Research suggests that cultural humility and community engagement approaches to health services can expand access to health care and health information and eventually improve the health of racial and ethnic minority individuals. Explore the tools available on the MACS website for additional resources on health disparities, racial and ethnic minority groups, and trainings on health equity. 

The MACS Team


Upcoming MACS Training Opportunities

MACS for MOMs Webinar

Newer Street Drugs and Pregnancy

Tuesday, April 2 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Presented by MACS for MOMs Consultant, Chris Welsh, MD


MACS Webinar

The Opioid Epidemic and Public Health: Impact, Interventions, and Innovation

Thursday, April 4 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Presented by Sara Whaley, MPH, MSW, MA


MACS Webinar

Benzodiazepine Use in the Older Adult Population

Thursday, April 25 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Presented by MACS Consultant, Mike Fingerhood, MD


Upcoming Trainings of Interest

Grayken Center for Addiction Training & TA

Trans and Gender Diverse Folks and Substance Use Treatment: Foundations

Monday, April 8 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM


Grayken Center for Addiction Training & TA

Long-Acting Injectable Buprenorphine Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder

Thursday, April 18 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM


NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

The Role of Emotional Intelligence Skills in Addressing Trauma and Reducing the Risk of SUD

Wednesday, April 24 | 3:00 - 4:30 PM


SAMHSA, Maryland Department of Health, and University of Maryland School of Medicine

Clinical Guidance for Training Pregnant and Parenting Women with Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants 

Friday, May 10 | 8:15 AM - 5:00 PM

Presented by Hendrée E. Jones, PhD, LP, Essence Hairston, LCSW, LCAS, CSI, and MACS for MOMs Consultant, Katrina Mark, MD, FACOG



MACS will be tabling and/or presenting at the following conferences:

April 6 - Maryland Academy of Advanced Practice Clinicians

April 11 - American College of Emergency Room Physicians Educational Conference & Annual Meeting 2024

April 19 - Maryland Society of Health System Pharmacy

April 23 - 36th Annual Tuerk Conference on Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

April 26 - 20th Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference


Join our learning communities for continuous case-based discussions and didactic presentations linking expert specialist teams with healthcare providers and their practices. MACS ECHO Clinics count toward the required 8-hours of SUD training for DEA license renewal or registration.

Maternal Health ECHO

Birth Outcomes

Tuesday, April 9

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM



SUD and Older Adults

Wednesday, April 17

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


MACS ECHO: Providing MOUD from a Trauma-Informed Perspective

Social Determinants of Health

Wednesday, April 24

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Opioid Treatment Program ECHO

Linkage to Care

Wednesday, May 1

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


Announcement: Updated Prescriber Enrollment Requirement for Behavioral Health Practitioners

To comply with federal regulations, the below changes are being implemented by the Maryland Medicaid Program related to reimbursement for prescribed medications effective July 1, 2024: 


Providers can reach out to MACS for more information and enrollment support.


Nativity and the Risk of Opioid Use Disorder Among Hispanic/Latinx Women in Primary Care in Los Angeles, CA

A cross-sectional study investigated the association between nativity and risk for opioid use disorder (OUD) among low-income Hispanic/Latinx women in primary care in Los Angeles, California. The risk of OUD was higher among US-born Hispanic/Latinx women compared to foreign-born women, and higher among those with chronic medical conditions and those at risk for other substance use disorders.


Shifts in Students’ Attitudes Towards Pain Patients, Pain, and Opioid Management Following a Dedicated Medical School Pain Curriculum 

This study found that a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary pain course improved first-year medical students’ attitudes toward pain management, chronic pain patients, and the complexities surrounding opioids. The course also increased students’ understanding of disparities in pain medicine and the impact of stigma on pain treatment.


Knowledge, Experiences, and Perceptions of Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Among Black Kentuckians 

Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are effective in reducing risk of overdose; however, Black Americans face barriers to access and uptake of MOUD. In this study, most Black participants who used opioids nonmedically either had no knowledge of MOUD or reported negative perceptions of the treatment.


Co-Occurrence of Mental Illness and Substance Use Among US Pregnant Individuals, 2012-2021

In this multi-year, cross-sectional study, pregnant individuals with greater severity of mental illness were more likely to engage in substance use. Findings highlight the need for substance use education and screening and treatment services to support US individuals with mental illness during pregnancy.


A Nationwide Survey Study of Recovery Community Centers Supporting People in Recovery From Substance Use Disorder 

Recovery community centers (RCCs) are successful in reaching people who take medications for opioid use disorder and populations historically underserved by medical settings. Learn more about the resources RCCs offer and their potential role in improving reach of efforts to end the opioid epidemic.


Setting the Record Straight on Long-Term Use, Dose Escalation, and Potential Misuse of Prescription Benzodiazepines 

This editorial discussed the controversy and fear surrounding prescribing benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-related drugs (BZRAs). The authors concluded: (1) appropriate use of BZRAs can improve patient functioning and quality of life; (2) assertions that appropriate BZRA prescribing leads to long-term tolerance and drug misuse are unfounded; and (3) prescribing policies should be based on well-designed studies that account for bias.


The Prevalence of Cannabis Use Disorders in People Who Use Medicinal Cannabis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 

A recent study aimed to systematically review the evidence on the prevalence of cannabis use disorders (CUDs) in people who use cannabis for medicinal reasons. The authors found that the prevalence of CUDs in people who use medicinal cannabis was estimated at 25% and comparable to those who use cannabis for recreational reasons.



MACS Phone Line Will Be Closed

May 27 - Memorial Day

April Observances

Alcohol Awareness Month

National Minority Health Month

Stress Awareness Month

Public Health Week

April 1 - 7

Black Maternal Health Week

April 11 - 17

National Osteopathic Medicine Week

April 15 - 21

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

April 27

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