The Opioid Epidemic: History and Clinical Implications


Michael D Moorhouse

Michael D Moorhouse PhD

Clinical Associate Professor

Mike Moorhouse, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Moorhouse received his PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Florida in 2008 and his MHS in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2001. As the BHS program director from 2013 to 2023, he was directly responsible for the educational and advising needs of more than 400 pre-health junior and seniors, and is heavily involved student life as he is faculty advisor to four different student organizations. Dr. Moorhouse’s research interests include undergraduate pedagogy, hazardous substance use among young adults, and measurement theory.

Positionality Statement:

As a white, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied male, I recognize that my privilege insulates me from experiencing social and systemic discrimination, racism, oppression, rejection, or micro aggressions that many people have and continue to experience in their daily lives. This privilege is an inescapable part of my “identity” – something that has allowed me to never have to prove myself because of my sex, or be uneasy walking into a room where no one looks like me, or deny my authentic self for fear that family and friends will reject me. Moreover, my privilege has allowed me to navigate life largely unaffected by discriminatory practices, prejudicial policies, and implicit/explicit bias.

My lens, my values, my motivations have all been heavily influenced by my upbringing and my own lived experiences related to self-worth and inferiority. It is these experiences that drive me to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion inside and outside the classroom. I believe that we are all an intersection of vertical and horizontal identities that should be celebrated and affirmed, rather than hidden or oppressed. To that end, I strive to make safe and affirming spaces for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status; and hope to grow by becoming more educated and better understanding of the impact of social injustices.

In this course, the author provides an overview of opioids. The course includes the main types of opioids and their effects on body systems. Healthcare professionals taking the course will learn the historical context of opioids that have influenced the opioids epidemic as well as implications for clinical practice. This course is well-suited for occupational therapists as well as other professionals who are involved with pain management.

Target Audience

This course is well-suited for occupational therapists as well as other professionals who are involved with pain management.

Educational Level

Introductory: Information is geared to practitioners with little or no knowledge of the subject matter. Focus is on providing general introductory information.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the history surrounding the opioid epidemic.
  • Discuss the role of role of big pharma in the opioid epidemic.
  • Differentiate between natural occurring, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids.
  • Explain the dependence and addictive nature of opioids.
  • Discuss the indications for prescribing opioids.
  • Describe how the brain and human body responds to opioids.
  • Recognize the symptoms of opioid use.
  • Explain the role of pain in opioid addiction.

Completion Requirements

1 Contact Hour for State of Florida Occupational Therapy practitioners will be awarded upon a successful completion of a multiple choice post-test. Participants will be able to print a certificate of completion after completing a short course evaluation in addition to the post-test.

Disclosure Statement

Instructors have stated that they have not received funding to support this training.

Instructional Methods

One (1) hour course during which the learner will view a streaming video presentation, reference PowerPoint® slides, and take a multiple choice post-test.