Katie Kassin, PA-C, a faculty member in USD’s physician assistant program, has received a portion of a national opioid settlement, The Opioid Abatement and Remediation Fund, to utilize for opioid use disorder treatment, prevention and recovery programs in South Dakota. Sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Social Services and USD physician assistant program, the grant will provide training in medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).

In 2022, the federal government passed the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act, which went into effect last year. It requires all Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered practitioners, like physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, to complete at least eight hours of training on opioid or other substance use disorders and the appropriate treatment of pain.

Kassin, the administrator for the grant, is planning to host a conference for health care professionals who work in family medicine and its sub-specialties to obtain those required hours of training. The conference will aid in furthering the understanding and practice of medications and treatments for opioid use disorder in South Dakota communities.

Many medical providers lack the necessary tools and education to effectively care for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD), and this training serves as a tool for reaching South Dakotans who need this specialized care, Kassin says.

“This training serves as a crucial bridge, equipping physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physicians interested in integrating opioid use disorder care into their practices with invaluable insights into the latest advancements in OUD treatment modalities, best practices in patient management, and collaboration with peers to enhance their ability to deliver comprehensive care to those affected by this complex condition,” she explains. “This training not only empowers health care professionals to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients but also plays a pivotal role in combating the opioid epidemic at its core.”

The conference is slated to be held Thursday, Aug. 29, in Vermillion.

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