UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Chronic Pain; Pain; Pain Management; Analgesics, Opioid; Opioid-Related Disorders


Emergency Medicine | Psychiatry


Treating chronic pain in the context of opioid misuse can be very challenging. This paper explores the epidemiology and potential treatments for chronic pain and opioid misuse and identifies educational and regulation changes that may reduce diversion of opioid analgesics. We cover the epidemiology of chronic pain and aberrant opioid behaviors, psychosocial influences on pain, pharmacological treatments, psychological treatments, and social treatments, as well as educational and regulatory efforts being made to reduce the diversion of prescription opioids. There are a number of ongoing challenges in treating chronic pain and opioid misuse, and more research is needed to provide strong, integrated, and empirically validated treatments to reduce opioid misuse in the context of chronic pain.

Rights and Permissions

© 2011 Wachholtz et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd. This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Wachholtz A, Gonzalez G, Boyer E, Naqvi ZN, Rosenbaum C, Ziedonis D. Intersection of chronic pain treatment and opioid analgesic misuse: causes, treatments, and policy strategies. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation 2011:2 145–162. DOI: 10.2147/SAR.S12944. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation