A Complex Co-Morbid Conundrum

Pain Management for Patients Presenting with a Substance Use Disorder

1 day

Up to 35 delegates


The Course Aim

To provide participants with a range of knowledge which will enable them to not only understand the complex relationship between pain and substance use disorders but also understand how to manage patients in an appropriate manner who present to them.   


Learning outcomes

 By the end of the session participants should be able to:

  • Understand the key diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.
  • Understand the basic principles of pain management and explain the current models that underpin prescribing and pain management interventions.
  • Challenge their own pre-conceptions of pain management in patients with substance use disorders.
  • Recognise the presentation of misuse or dependency to illicit, OTC and prescription medication.
  • Prescribe in a safe and evidence-based way to patients with a Co-Morbid presentation.
  • Understand what non-pharmacological interventions are available to support these patients.


Course content

  • Introduction to substance use disorder
  • Overview of Pain Management Models
  • Common misconceptions when dealing with the co-morbid presentation.
  • Recognising symptoms of a co-morbid presentation.
  • Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological options for patients with pain and substance use disorder
  • Review the clinical management strategy or care plan.
  • The role of the multi-disciplinary team in the management of co-morbid substance use and pain presentations.



Graham Parsons has been a practicing pharmacist since 1991 after graduating from the University of Bath in 1990. After working in a variety of community pharmacy roles, Graham started working in the Plymouth Substance Misuse Service in 2003 and joined NHS Plymouth in 2005 as a specialist substance misuse medicines management advisor. In 2007 Graham became a prescriber within the Plymouth Addiction Service after completing his prescribing certificate and was appointed a Pharmacist with Special Interest in Substance Misuse by Plymouth teaching Primary Care Trust in 2009.

 In 2010 Graham was appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) for a three-year term.  After a brief period of time between 2013 and 2015 working as a clinical pharmacist and prescriber in a number of GP Practices and a medicines optimisation pharmacist for NHS NEW Devon CCG, Graham returned to the Substance Misuse field as a Pharmacist with Turning Point in September 2015.  

 Since 2015 Graham has worked on the medicines optimisation agenda within Turning Point and as a pharmacist prescriber.  He is now Chief Pharmacist for Turning Point.

On a personal level Graham enjoys football and studying and in 2016 completed a BA in History with the Open University. Graham has a wonderful family which is a major part of his life and, when not working or studying, where he can often be found on the North Cornwall coast at our holiday home in Perranporth.