Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
This meeting is a direct response to our growing concern about the increased abuse of prescription pain medications, which, when abused, can be life-threatening. Although the latest national surveys show a declining trend in the abuse of licit and illicit substances, prescription pain medication abuse is a growing adolescent problem, ranking second only to marijuana as the most frequently abused substance among 12th-graders. Through this cross-disciplinary meeting, we hope to identify areas where research is needed to build a scientific foundation for informing health care providers about how to provide the appropriate pain management, while minimizing the risks of opioid abuse and addiction. Topics covered include the neurobiology of opioids, the epidemiology of opioid addiction and pain, the genetic intersections of pain and addiction, and a look at the future of pain management.
Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
National Institute of Nursing Research
The NIH Pain Consortium provides leadership for trans-NIH research activities through the identification of key opportunities in pain research and by an increase in the visibility of pain research with stakeholders. A recent national survey revealed that 25 percent of adults experienced day-long pain in the month prior and 10 percent experienced day-long pain for a year or longer. Through the presentations and panel discussions, a wide array of experts share their insights into the complex nature of pain, its management, and its impact on our society. Investigators within NIH and across the extramural research community are making great progress in elucidating the molecular underpinnings of pain and in generating therapeutic approaches that translate into clinical practice.