Annual Assembly

Navigating the Opioid Crisis: Perils, Pitfalls, and Practical Alternative Treatments


Tuesday, November 10 -
Wednesday, November 11
8 am-5 pm

San Diego Convention Center 


The opioid crisis has been declared a national emergency.  Physiatrists are at the forefront of treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions, and are frequently asked to manage pain as a method of improving function in inpatient and outpatient settings.

This course is designed to assist practicing physiatrists in the management of opioid therapy, including alternative treatments to opioids in treating chronic pain.  It is intended to be a real-world, clinically-applicable series of didactics and interactive case discussions. The participants should leave the course feeling confident in their ability to prescribe opioids safely with a high degree of efficacy, and to be able to protect themselves and their patients from the potential ramifications of opioid prescription.

Learning Objectives

  • Implement practical techniques for managing patients using safe prescription of opioids.
  • Employ risk stratification tools for patients regarding their potential for opioid abuse, misuse, and addiction.
  • Apply integrative medicine and non-opioid adjuvant treatments in practice.
  • Optimize practice strategies and patient satisfaction in situations in which opioid therapy is not indicated.
  • Utilize safeguards to ensure personal safety when treating patients using opioids.
  • Obtain an overview and understanding of the federal laws and regulations pertaining to controlled substance prescribing.

Who Should Attend:

This course is designed for physiatrists* who treat patients with pain in the inpatient and outpatient settings, including both opioid and non-opioid strategies.

*While the course is designed for physiatrists, any physicians or advanced practice providers are welcome to attend.

Course Director and Faculty


  • Ameet Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAPMR
  • Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR


  • David A. Edwards, MD, PhD
  • Ari C. Greis, DO, FAAPMR
  • D.J. Kennedy, MD, FAAPMR
  • Gerald A. Malanga, MD, FAAPMR
  • Richard Tucker, Drug Education Consulting Group
  • Landrew Sevel, PhD
  • James V. Sporleder, Security Expert
  • Steven P. Stanos, DO, FAAPMR
  • Ross D. Whitacre, MD, FAAPMR 



sfref="[images|OpenAccessDataProvider]e04d3dbb-b7f3-6151-8d86-ff0000187796"Tuesday, November 10

7:00 am – 8:00 am   Breakfast & Registration
8:00 am – 8:30 am   Welcoming Remarks, Course Format
Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR and, Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
8:30 am – 9:15 am   The Epidemiology of the Epidemic
Steven P. Stanos, Jr., DO, FAAPMR
9:15 am – 10:00 am   So You’re Going to Prescribe An Opioid: Indications, Management, Monitoring, and Expectations
David A. Edwards, MD, PhD
10:00 am – 10:30 am   Break
10:30 am – 11:30 am   The DEA, Medical Practitioners, and the Opioid Epidemic
Richard Tucker
11:30 am – 12:00 pm   Q&A
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm   Lunch
12:45 pm – 1:30 pm   Rational Chronic Pain Therapy & the Burden of Patient Satisfaction
Steven P. Stanos, Jr., DO, FAAPMR
This session will discuss strategies for how to “satisfy” patients and protect your practice while providing appropriate care to patients seeking opioids when they are not clinically



1:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Interpersonal Violence...What Can You Do to Stay Safe?
James V. Sporleder
This session will address the evolutionary nature of interpersonal violence, often-identified pre-incident indicators that can be present prior to physical violence, and practical insights and strategies for protecting your patients, staff, and yourself.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm   Break
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm   Interactive Case Discussion: Recognizing and Treating Addiction, and How to Manage Challenging Patient Encounters
This case-based session will focus on different aspects of recognizing and managing patients at risk for or suffering from opioid addiction, and unique and challenging patient scenarios that physiatrists may face in day-to-day practice of pain and opioid management. Participants are invited to bring their own cases to share and get feedback.
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm   Reception


Wednesday, November 11

7:00 am – 8:00 am   Breakfast
8:00 am – 8:15 am   Welcome and Debrief from Day 1: Any questions or hot topics?
Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR and, Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
8:15 am – 8:35 am   Communication with Referral Sources
Moderator: Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
This session will include a practical discussion of how to partner with other providers such as surgeons and primary care physicians when prescribing opioids.
8:35 am – 10:05 am   Non-Interventional Alternatives to Opioids in Pain Management: New Directions
8:35 am – 9:00 am   Exercise
Ross D. Whitacre, MD, FAAPMR
9:00 am – 9:25 am   Going Inward: Mindfulness and the Management of Chronic Pain
Landrew Sevel, PhD
This session will provide an overview of the role of mindfulness meditation in the management of chronic pain. Foundational theoretical, current empirical and practical aspects of mindfulness practice will be introduced.
9:25 am – 9:50 am   Functional Medicine
Saloni Sharma, MD, FAAPMR
This session will provide an introduction to functional medicine and its application for pain control and opioid reduction.
9:50 am – 10:05 am   Q&A
10:05 am – 10:20 am   Break
10:20 am – 11:50 am   Interventional Alternatives to Opioids in Pain Management: New Directions
10:20 am – 10:45 am   New Horizons in Neuromodulation (High Frequency SCS, DRG stim, PNS, etc.)
Ameet S. Nagpal, MD, MS, MEd, FAAMPR
This session is designed to introduce evidence-based concepts surrounding neuromodulation. The learner will be educated on when to refer patients for neuromodulation, the differences between individual technologies, and utilization of neuromodulation techniques as opioid-sparing therapies.
10:45 am – 11:10 am   Large Joint Ablation – Better Evidence Than Any Other Treatment? (Shoulder, Hip, Knee, Sacroiliac Joint)
D.J. Kennedy, MD, FAAPMR
11:10 am – 11:35 am   Regenerative Medicine – Current State of the Evidence
Gerald A. Malanga, MD, FAAPMR
11:35 am – 11:50 am   Q&A
11:50 am – 12:30 pm   Lunch
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm   Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain: An Alternative to Opioids
Ari C. Greis, DO, FAAPMR
This session will discuss the evidence base for cannabis as an option, as well as regulatory issues from a federal perspective, including the ability to prescribe and do research.
1:30 pm – 2:45 pm  

Non-Opioid Treatment Options

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm   What will you take back to your practice?Parting Thoughts and Group Discussion of Key Concepts
3:00 pm   Adjourn


Navigating the Opioid Crisis: Perils, Pitfalls, and Practical Alternative Treatments

Early-Bird (May 15-September 16)
 Regular (September 17-Onsite)
 Member Pricing $650  $750 
 Nonmember Pricing $995  $1,095 



The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Designation of Credit

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  


Cancellation and Change Policy

All cancellations for the Navigating the Opioid Crisis: Perils, Pitfalls, and Practical Alternative Treatments Course must be submitted in writing via email to registration@aapmr.org or via mail to the address below. All cancellations will receive a full refund* and processed 7-14 days after notification is received.

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Attention: Customer Service, AA2020
9700 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 200
Rosemont, IL 60018

If you have questions, or need to make changes to your registration, contact Member Services at (847) 737-6000.

*Temporary Refund Policy
Now through December 31, 2020, AAPM&R will give a full refund to any individual who registered for a 2020 live course (including the Annual Assembly), but is unable to attend for any reason. A full refund will be issued to any registrant upon request, without any fees or penalties, no matter when they registered for the course. When possible, cancellations with advanced notice prior to the event would be appreciated to aid the Academy in planning accordingly.