New Opioid Prescribing CME Rules Approved

The NC Rules Review Commission has granted final approval to North Carolina Medical Board rule changes that establish a new requirement for physicians and physician assistants (PAs) to earn continuing education hours in controlled substances prescribing.

The requirement applies to physicians and PAs who prescribed controlled substances during their most recent continuing medical education (CME) cycles. Physicians must earn three hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each three year CME cycle. PAs must earn two hours of CME in controlled substances prescribing during each two year cycle. Licensees who prescribed no controlled substances during their most recent CME cycles are not subject to the requirement.

To count towards the requirement, CME hours must include instruction on controlled substance prescribing practices, recognizing signs of the abuse or misuse of controlled substances, and controlled substance prescribing for chronic pain management. It is not necessary for each class completed to cover all three education topics; However, all three topics must be covered within the cumulative total hours completed.

The new CME requirement will be in effect as of July 1, 2017. Licensees whose CME cycles end on or after July 1, 2017, will be expected to complete CME hours that fulfill the new requirement.

For more information on the new CME requirement, including an extensive FAQs list, visit NCMB’s resource page at

Be sure to take advantage of the FREE Opioid Prescribing CME offered at the upcoming M3 conference in Greensboro on Sept. 15-18. The opioid prescribing CME session, “Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives,” will be offered on Saturday afternoon. Register for this session and browse the M3 site to learn about the nearly 14 total hours of CME available at this valuable event. Learn more and register here.


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