Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Dr. Anita Boykins

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Dr. Abby McNeil

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Dr. Lynn Langley

Committee Member 3 Department



Mental and substance use disorders are predicted to exceed all physical disease processes causing major disability by 2020. Misuse and overdose of opioid pain medications is a significant public health concern in the United States. Approximately 1 in 4 patients receiving prescription opioids in primary care settings struggle with misuse. Half of all opioid prescriptions are written by primary care providers, including nurse practitioners. The purpose of this DNP project was to determine if nurse practitioner providers are implementing evidence-based practice guidelines including screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) to mitigate risk of prescription opioid pain medication misuse and abuse among patients who request a prescription for opioid pain medication. Nurse practitioner providers were instructed on current evidence-based opioid guidelines to include conducting a comprehensive assessment and screening for opioid misuse/abuse, brief intervention, and referral for behavioral health/addiction services treatment based on risk level scoring. There was a total of 9 out of 12 or 75% of patients age 18-25 that

presented requesting an opioid pain medication. There was an even sex distribution, including 6 males (50%) and 6 females (50%). After implementing screening, brief intervention, and treatment, eight (66%) patients were identified as low risk; two (17%) patients were identified as moderate risk; and 2 (17%) patients were identified as high risk for opioid abuse. The two (17%) patients identified as high risk received brief intervention and were referred for treatment. This project identified the risk level for opioid pain medication misuse/abuse. Implementing evidence-based guidelines for prescribing opioid pain medications and SBIRT in the clinical setting conjunctly with other validated screening tools could prove to be quite effective in combating misuse/abuse of opioid pain medication based on results of the project.