PRAC-ED-PA Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Curriculum

PAEA is pleased to offer a new, highly rigorous, and evidence-based SUD curriculum designed to help PA educators empower their students with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become more well-rounded medical providers and be better prepared to care for those suffering from substance use disorders. Join PA programs around the country and sign up to receive this no-cost and timely curriculum for your program.  

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Introducing the Curriculum

About the Curriculum  

Overall Goal 

SUD is a deadly disease on the rise, and there is an increasing need for PA graduates to be equipped with the right knowledge and solutions to identify and treat patients caught up in this growing epidemic. PAEA’s PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum provides a detailed overview of opioid and substance use disorders and explores the latest innovative practices and treatment options. 

This curriculum will reduce stigma associated with SUD and positively impact the care PAs will provide to millions of patients over the course of their careers — in every specialty and practice setting. 

Course Design 

The PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum was developed with support from a previous Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant and with close collaboration between PAEA and 20 PA programs representative of almost all geographical areas in the United States. 

The curriculum is comprised of six parts: a course introduction to substance use disorder, as well as five learning modules made up of individual lessons: 

  • Module 1: Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) 
  • Module 2: Stigma and Available Treatments 
  • Module 3: Medications, Toxicology & Urine Testing, Comorbidities 
  • Module 4: Specific Substances 
  • Module 5: Special Populations & Citation List 

In addition to its five main learning modules, the curriculum includes 11 student survey questions that reflect their attitudes towards the treatment of patients with SUD that will be administered before and after completing the curriculum. 

Length of Curriculum 

 The PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately 6-8 hours and includes pre- and post-test questions for each module. Individual programs may choose to use these test questions as part of a pass/fail assessment system. 

Time to Completion 

It is recommended that programs require their students to complete this curriculum over a 10- to 14-day period and incorporate it into existing behavioral health course content. 

How was it developed? 

The PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum was developed through close collaboration between PAEA and 20 PA programs across the United States. These programs adapted the course from the Providers Clinical Support System (PCSS) SUD 101 Core Curriculum developed as a CME resource for practicing clinicians.  

  • Baldwin Wallace University
  • Butler University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Charles R. Drew University
  • CUNY School of Medicine
  • Elon University
  • Emory University
  • Franklin Pierce University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Lake Erie College
  • Marshall B. Ketchum University
  • Nova Southeastern University, Orlando
  • South University, Richmond
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • University of Oklahoma–Tulsa
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of South Alabama
  • Wichita State University
  • Yale University School of Medicine

Their work was funded by a SAMHSA grant to develop a standardized substance use disorder (SUD) curriculum. Additionally, PAEA received a PCSS subaward from the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) that requires this curriculum be made available to all our members, securing participation no later than July 31, 2022.

Funding for this PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum expansion was made possible by a subaward from the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry’s 2020 Providers Clinical Support System Medication Assisted Treatment grant #3H79TI081968-02S1 funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The PRAC-ED-PA SUD curriculum expansion subaward number is PCSSMAT02-S1-1.

The creation of the original PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum used in this subaward was funded through a grant awarded to PAEA from SAMHSA (Grant Number: H79FG-000010). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


“I have completed the curriculum and thought the content was great and will definitely be helpful in the future. The interface for the online curriculum was especially nice to work with. It was easy to navigate and well organized. The video within the curriculum on how to counsel a patient was great to see, and it would be helpful to have more of those for different substances or for some of the behavioral disorders. For me, seeing the actual conversations and hearing the way providers phrase their questions is helpful for learning.” 

PA Program Student 

Curriculum Resources  

Faculty Guide 

The PRAC-ED-PA SUD Faculty Guide offers comprehensive information to PA educators looking to offer this curriculum to their students.

Access the Guide

Student Guide 

The PRAC-ED-PA SUD Student Guide educates students on how to access the curriculum and answers frequently asked questions.  

Access the Guide

Sign up now 

Due to system capacity, a limited number of programs will be able to access the course at once. Therefore, priority course delivery windows will be honored on a first come first serve basis.  

Sign up to receive the PRAC-ED-PA SUD Curriculum

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Contact Us

If you have questions regarding the PRAC-ED-PA effort, please contact Sorcha Desmond at