University of Arizona, Oklahoma State University forge addiction research partnership

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The medical centers at the University of Arizona and Oklahoma State University (OSU) have joined forces to help combat the opioid crisis and chronic pain through research, treatment, and education.

The partnership will share resources from three research centers – the University of Arizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center (CPAC), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded Center for Excellence in Addiction Studies (CEAS) at UArizona Health Sciences, and the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences’ National Center for Wellness & Recovery (NCWR) – to advance pain and addiction research and work to accelerate positive health outcomes across the country.

The goals of the three research centers are aligned with the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health's Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative, according to a statement. They are focused on combating the opioid crisis, ameliorating the suffering of chronic pain while decreasing opioid use, finding alternatives to opioids for treating acute and chronic pain, promoting recovery and prevention of relapse from opioid use disorder, as well as development of rapidly acting medications for opioid overdose through advancement of novel chemistry, biology, therapies, clinical trials, and education. 

In addition to their general populations, Arizona and Oklahoma are home to Indigenous populations affected by drug addiction. The two universities share a common commitment to addressing the impact of substance use disorders and chronic pain in these populations.

“The partnership will accelerate our ability to discover novel medications, devices, and therapies to help those who suffer from substance use disorder and chronic pain,” said Todd Vanderah, PhD, director of the UArizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. “This relationship will leverage each institution’s research strengths, their dedication to clinical care and their passion to make a change.”