PCOA-RN 10: Substance Misuse in Older Adults



1.0 Nursing Continuing Professional Development Contact Hours

Target Audience

  • Interprofessionals
  • Registered Nurses


This course describes the characteristics of substance use disorders and substance misuse patterns in older adults. This includes illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse, alcohol-related disorders, and tobacco use. The opioid misuse problem in adults age 55+ is discussed.


The course outlines assessing older adults for substance misuse and compares these usage patterns in older adults with those of other populations. After viewing this course, practitioners will be able to describe and implement a brief motivational intervention as a component of care and assess and utilize other treatment modalities.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe signs and symptoms of substance use disorders in older adults
  2. List factors contributing to opioid misuse and opioid use disorder in adults 65 and older
  3. Identify tools to screen for substance misuse and substance use disorders
  4. Describes the steps for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)
  5. Discuss treatment interventions for the older adult diagnosed with a substance use disorder
  6. Describe resources available to individuals, families and caregivers to address substance misuse or substance use disorder