To: Massachusetts Nursing and Professional Healthcare Organizations

From: Laurie Talarico, MS, RN, NP, Nursing Practice Coordinator

Re: Prescription Monitoring Program AND Advanced Practice Nurses Who Prescribe Controlled Substances Mandatory Education Requirement

Date: March 30, 2011

The Board of Registration in Nursing (Board) would like to convey the following two important updates:

Prescription Monitoring Program

The Department of Public Health established the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) in 1992 pursuant to joint regulations of the Drug Control Program (see 105 CMR 700.006(J)) and the Board of Registration in Pharmacy (247 CMR 5.04). The PMP collects prescribing and dispensing information on Massachusetts Schedule II - V controlled substances dispensed pursuant to a prescription. The PMP utilizes the data collected to determine prescribing and dispensing trends; provide educational information to health care providers and the public; and provide case information to regulatory and law enforcement agencies concerning drug distribution and diversion.

To download a handbook and to obtain information regarding enrolling to use the Online PMP click on the following link: Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

Mandatory Education Requirement for All Prescribers

As of January 1, 2011, pursuant to MGL 94C, Section 18(e), all prescribers, upon initial application for MA Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR) and subsequently during each APRN license renewal period, must complete education relative to:

  • effective pain management,
  • identification of patients at high risk for substance abuse, and
  • counseling patients about the side effects, addictive nature and proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.

Boston University School of Medicine, with the cooperation with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the New England Division of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the Massachusetts Hospital Association, developed presentations entitled Safe and Effective Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain that meet the educational objectives of the statute.

The educational program is a web-based activity supported by funding from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, and by an unrestricted educational grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is offered at no charge to prescribers. At the completion of the program, a certificate for 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ can be downloaded and printed. This continuing education offering is consistent with the Board of Registration in Nursing (Board) requirements at 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education pdf format of 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education
for the equivalent of 3.6 Contact Hours.

Please note that MGL 94C, Section 18(e) does not specify a minimum number of contact hours to comply with this education requirement. Also, the Board Advisory Ruling #0901: Management of Pain was revised on November 10, 2011 to include the new education requirement for APRNs with prescriptive authority.

Through your signature on the Massachusetts Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR) form and on your nursing license renewal form, you attest under penalties of perjury compliance with state tax and child support laws, mandatory reporting laws, and regulations, including continuing education requirements.


This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.