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Older Adults & Opioids


In collaboration with the Monroe County Department of Public Health and Lifespan, the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center (FLGEC) at the University of Rochester is directly addressing the opioid epidemic for older adults and what it means for their families.  This call to action was made possible through supplemental funding received from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This funding opportunity will allow the FLGEC to:

  • Prepare health care professionals through regional health professionals workshops on opioid training that addresses prevention, assessment, management, and treatment in older adults
  • Develop outreach programs focused on opioid education for older adults and caregivers at Lifespan and at Senior Centers in Rochester, New York
  • Work in tandem with the Opioid Action Plan of Monroe County to coordinate regional data collection on opioid abuse in older adults, and provide education and overdose prevention efforts.


  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that leads public health efforts to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. The Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) series contributes to SAMHSA’s mission by providing science-based, best-practice guidance to the behavioral health field. TIPs refect careful consideration of all relevant clinical and health service research, demonstrated experience, and implementation requirements. The Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 26: Treating Substance Use Disorder in Older Adults, updated in 2020, is designed to help providers and others better understand how to identify, manage, and prevent substance misuse in older adults.
  • HHS Guide for Clinicians on the Appropriate Dosage Reduction or Discontinuation of Long-Term Opioid Analgesics - In response to concerns that patients are being abruptly cut off of prescription opioids, the US DHHS announced this new guide yesterday. In light of the opioid crisis, providers have been responding to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to limit opioid prescribing, but rapid discontinuation can lead to opioid withdrawal and other problems for patients. The new guide seeks to balance effective pain management with risks of opioid addiction.
  • The Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Program at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has posted the protocol for Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Opioids, Opioid Misuse and Opioid Use Disorder in Older Adults. The protocol is available at the Effective Healthcare Web site or here as a pdf.
  • Managing Opioid Use in Long Term Services and Supports - created by the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium, these interprofessional online modules for students, health care providers and LTSS staff are centered around opioid use.  Each module takes about 20 minutes to complete and provides instruction on how to present the material to a group.
  • The Baystate GWEP created an interactive module on Opioid Use in Older Adults. Direct Care Workers and/or educators can sign up for an account on the Massachusetts Direct Care Worker website to take this course and receive a certificate  Anyone can use this following link to view the interactive module.
  • The Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center (WNY R-AHEC), funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), provides educational initiatives in 12 rural counties in upstate New York.  The WNY R-AHEC offers the Opioid Prevention Education Project (OPEP) to expand training related to opioid diagnosis, use, treatment and prevention for current health professionals, future practitioners, and the general population in New York State. The Opioid Prevention Education Project focuses on two key components: (1) High School and College Student Awareness, and (2) Community Engagement and Outreach.  Find out more here:

2023 Older Adults & Opioids Webinar Series

In Nov. 2021, the CDC released provisional data indicating the  there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the US during 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. Deaths increased from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl), methamphetamines, cocaine, and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication).  Older adults are included in these numbers but often overlooked as a vulnerable population in this area.  Co-sponsored by the FLGEC and the WNY R-AHEC, this Zoom webinar series will highlight unique approaches to care of special populations as well as the current challenges providing services to older adults.

SAFE-HOME Opioid Management Education in Older Adults

  • Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 12pm - 1pm ET
  • Abigail Elmes, PharmD, Rush University

Toxic Stress, Opiates, and Older Adults: Bringing Compassion and Hope

  • Friday, March 10, 2023, 12pm - 1pm ET
  • Cheryl L. Martin, MA, RN, CASAC-M, CCSI

Evaluating Age as a Predictor of Postoperative Opioid Use and Prescribing Habits in Older Adults with Cancer

  • Tuesday April 18, 2023, 12pm - 1pm ET
  • Alexa Melucci, MD, URMC

Older Women and Opioids

  • Tuesday May 9, 2023, 12pm - 1pm ET
  • Olivera J. Bogunovic, MD, Medical Director of Ambulatory Services, Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Opioid Overdose Prevention – Narcan Training

  • Thursday June 15, 2023, 12pm - 1pm
  • Charlotte Crawford, RN, MSN, MBA, Consultant

Cost: No charge
Platform: Zoom
Flyer: 2023 Flyer

2022 Older Adults and Opioids Webinar Series

List of recorded webinars

2021 Older Adults and Opioids Webinar Series

List of recorded webinars

2020 Older Adults and Opioids Webinar Series

List of recorded webinars


This project is sponsored by the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program # U1QHP28738.  This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors/speakers and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, DHHS, or the U.S. Government.