Educational programs and support for safer prescribing practices

Most physicians recognize that a strong pharmacovigilance strategy is an essential tool in their practice to promote both patient and public safety. Treatment agreements, urine drug screens and random pill counts are being employed on a regular basis by most prescribers. Opioid prescribing trends continue to align more closely with best practices.

Part of the quality assurance mandate of the drug programs department involves administering the Prescription Review Program (PRP), an educational and remedial program that reaches out to physicians when there may be prescribing that falls outside the College practice standard Safe Prescribing of Opioids and Sedatives and the 2017 Canadian National Opioid Use Guidelines. The PRP process aims to help physicians with the challenging task of prescribing of opioids, sedatives and other potentially addictive medications. Physicians are typically enrolled in the PRP process when a potential concern is identified in their prescribing.  

While the PRP process is a key component of the drug programs primary prevention strategy, the drug programs department is also available as an ongoing resource to any physician seeking guidance regarding prescribing challenges they may be facing in their practice. The drug programs medical consultants are experienced in complex pain and addiction management, and can offer advice and guidance on a variety of challenging subjects. To set up an advice call with a consultant, call 604-733-7758 ext. 2629 or email

The College also regularly hosts and collaborates on educational courses and workshops aimed at challenging prescribing. On March 6 and 7, 2020, the Foundation for Medical Excellence, in cooperation with the College, will host the 33rd Annual Pain Management Conference. The conference has received very positive feedback in past years and continues to provide crucial and practical education and skills in complex chronic pain management.   

On October 17, 2019, the College will host the prescribers course. The prescribers course is an intensive one-day course where practitioners can gain further education and experience in pain management and addiction medicine. Practitioners will work with experienced clinical teachers and their peers to be able to identify unsafe prescribing patterns and further develop skills for talking to patients in realistic terms about the risks and benefits of opioids, benzodiazepines and other potentially addictive medications. 

The drug programs department encourages registrants to get in touch to learn more about safe prescribing: