Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction


The current opioid addiction epidemic that is sweeping the country has put many chronic pain sufferers in the position of needing pain relief while trying to deal with an opioid addiction. A new research study at CU Denver will look at alternatives to opioids for chronic pain sufferers. Amy Wachholtz, Assistant Professor, Psychology at CU Denver says that many people are in an opioid addiction and chronic pain cycle now and trying to balance getting their pain treated while at the same time maintaining non-abnormal opioid levels and levels of opioid use that won’t actually be hurting the body.

“For many individuals, whether they began in the opioid abuse cycle and then developed chronic pain after that because of changes that happen in the body when individuals are on long-term opioids – whether they began into the cycle that way, or they began in the cycle where they had a pain incident that they were prescribed opioids for and that is how they came into this chronic pain and opioid addiction cycle, regardless of how people entered that cycle.”

The NIH-funded CU Denver research study, the STOP study seeks to treat chronic pain and opioid addiction in the same setting. The 12 week program will teach people skills for psychological pain management in a group therapy session.

The STOP study is accepting participants with a history of chronic pain and opioid use disorder for a free 12-week rolling therapy group. Participants should be between the ages of 18 and 65, must complete a short phone screening prior to enrollment, and will also receive compensation for their time.

For more information phone (303) 315-7036 or email

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