Public Release: 

NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

NIH/Office of Disease Prevention

Media Advisory



The National Institutes of Health is convening a Pathways to Prevention workshop to assess the available scientific evidence on the long-term effectiveness and potential risks of opioids for treating chronic pain. Participants will be among the nation's top experts in the field of pain control and management from around the country, as well as key NIH scientists who focus on pain related research. An impartial, independent panel will identify research gaps and future research priorities. The workshop will seek to clarify:

-- Long-term effectiveness of opioids for treating chronic pain

-- Potential risks of opioid treatment in various patient populations

-- Effects of different opioid management strategies on outcomes related to addiction, abuse, misuse, pain, and quality of life

-- Effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies for opioid treatment

-- Future research needs and priorities to improve the treatment of pain with opioids.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP), the NIH Pain Consortium, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

This workshop is free and open to the public. Registration> and additional information are available on the ODP website:


Monday, Sept. 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Tuesday, Sept. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.


Natcher Auditorium (Building 45) on the NIH campus, Bethesda, Maryland.


Chronic pain is a major public health problem, which is estimated to affect more than 100 million people in the United States and about 20-30 percent of the population worldwide. Opioids are powerful analgesics which are commonly used and found to be effective for many types of pain. However, opioids can produce significant side effects and long-term opioid use can result in physical dependence. This workshop will identify methodological and scientific weaknesses in the study of opioid treatment for chronic pain, suggest research needs, and move the field forward through an unbiased, evidence-based assessment. Visit the workshop website for more background information on this topic.


Please contact Deborah Langer in the NIH Office of Disease Prevention at 301-443-4569 or

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices that are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


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