Researchers are turning to Tennessee to find a middle ground on the use of opioids for treating chronic pain. A new study is recruiting 1,000 patients in Tennessee and North Carolina who are taking opioids for chronic pain — a move that comes at a time of conflicting opinions about whether addictive narcotics should even be used to treat long-term pain, unless it's cancer-related.
The researchers from Vanderbilt, Duke and the University of North Carolina will split the pain patients into two groups. Both will continue to take opioids. But one set will have extensive talks with their doctor about addiction and dosage to make joint decision. The other patients will add group therapy to their medication in an effort to help manage of their pain through positive thoughts and behaviors.
Researchers say they're trying to "fill an important gap" in the understanding about long-term use of opioids for chronic pain.
The $9 million study is led by two established nonprofits — Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute provided the funding and RTI International is leading the research.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated RTI is also part of funding the study.