Opioids: Core Concepts

Course Description:
This course is in our Core Concepts Series, which reviews potentially impairing drug classes from three scientific perspectives: Pharmacology, Forensic Toxicology, and Clinical Toxicology.

The term “opioids” is an umbrella term that refers to all natural opiates, semi-synthetic opioids, and fully synthetic opioids. These drugs include but are not limited to morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl. Each opioid has unique characteristics that will be explored in more detail during this course.

Opioids induce a variety of effects on the human body, including analgesia, euphoria, CNS depression, nausea, and decreased GI motility. Some of these effects, namely euphoria and CNS depression, can lead to drug abuse and dangers to both the user and others.

This course will begin with the pharmacology of the opioids, reviewing how opioids interact with receptors in the nervous system and the pharmacokinetics of different opioids. The forensic toxicology lectures will discuss important concepts such as driving impairment, tolerance, and other toxicological concerns surrounding opioids. The clinical toxicology lecture will explore the physical manifestations of opioid intoxication, considerations for interpreting opioid testing results and other related topics.

Note: This course is best received by learners with a knowledge of basic pharmacology principles, but can prove beneficial to anyone responsible for interacting with drug impaired individuals or interpreting corresponding incidents.

Recommended Learners:
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Dr. Richard Chen

Dr. Richard Chen

Dr. Richard Chen is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and is a board-certified medical toxicologist and emergency physician. Dr. Chen received his MD degree from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ. He subsequently completed Medical Toxicology Fellowship at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where he has remained as faculty. See full bio. 

Dani Mata, D-ABFT-FT

Dani Mata, D-ABFT-FT

Dani C. Mata, MSFS, is currently a Senior Forensic Scientist for the Forensic Chemistry Bureau of the Orange County Crime Lab, CA where she has worked since 2007. Ms. Mata has been certified by the American Board of Forensic Toxicologists as a Diplomate in Forensic Toxicology since 2015 and is currently a Director on the board. See full bio. 

Dr. Sharon Kelley

Dr. Sharon Kelley

Dr. Sharon Kelley is the CEO for the Kelley Consulting Group, Associates for Global Narcotics Training and Associates in Emergency Medical Education. While completing her Bachelors in Pre-Medical Sciences she served as a Tampa police officer which afforded her firsthand experience in recognition of street and prescription drug abuse. She received a Masters Degree in Drug Chemistry from the University of Florida and then went on to obtain her PhD in Toxicology. See full bio. 

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