The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics | 2019

The Opioid Crisis and the Future of Addiction and Pain Therapeutics



Opioid misuse and addiction are a public health crisis resulting in debilitation, deaths, and significant social and economic impact. Curbing this crisis requires collaboration among academic, government, and industrial partners toward the development of effective nonaddictive pain medications, interventions for opioid overdose, and addiction treatments. A 2-day meeting, The Opioid Crisis and the Future of Addiction and Pain Therapeutics: Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies Symposium, was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to address these concerns and to chart a collaborative path forward. The meeting was supported by the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-TermSM (HEAL) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis. The event was unique in bringing together two research disciplines, addiction and pain, in order to create a forum for crosscommunication and collaboration. The output from the symposium will be considered by the HEAL Initiative; this article summarizes the scientific presentations and key takeaways. Improved understanding of the etiology of acute and chronic pain will enable the discovery of novel targets and regulatable pain circuits for safe and effective therapeutics, as well as relevant biomarkers to ensure adequate testing in clinical trials. Applications of improved technologies including reagents, assays, model systems, and validated probe compounds will likely increase the delivery of testable hypotheses and therapeutics to enable better health outcomes for patients. The symposium goals were achieved by increasing interdisciplinary collaboration to accelerate solutions for this pressing public health challenge and provide a framework for focused efforts within the research community. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT This article summarizes key messages and discussions resulting from a 2-day symposium focused on challenges and opportunities in developing addiction- and pain-related medications. Speakers and attendees came from 40 states in the United States and 15 countries, bringing perspectives from academia, industry, government, and healthcare by researchers, clinicians, regulatory experts, and patient advocates.

Volume 371
Pages 396 - 408
DOI 10.1124/jpet.119.259408
Language English
Journal The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

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