Addressing Two of the Nation's Greatest Public Health Challenges

Fireside Chat between NIH, NIDA Heads Addresses COVID-19, HEAL Initiative, and Opioid Crisis

The Need

Chronic pain is a disabling condition that affects tens of millions of people in the US. Its impact on the health and well-being of the country is staggering, with a financial burden in excess of the costs of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.

1 in 10 adults in the US suffer from chronic pain

Addiction: Opioids play a crucial role in the management of acute (postoperative) and cancer pain, as well as end-of-life care, but the unrestricted use of opioids to treat chronic non-cancer pain has caused a national epidemic of opioid use disorder, often leading to addiction, overdose, and death. In most cases, an opioid use disorder begins with a prescription for an opioid analgesic or procurement of a diverted opioid medication, thus linking pain and addiction. 

20 million adults in the US have a substance use disorder and 2 million have an opioid use disorder

Our Response

PARC is a transdisciplinary research center focused on developing and testing new approaches for treating pain, decreasing the negative consequences of opioids, and developing effective ways to mitigate the impact of opioid overuse.  

PARC is committed to responding to the specific challenges created by COVID-19. The pandemic is exacerbating struggles with pain and addiction as chronic conditions go untreated because patients are avoiding health care settings or they are facing economic hardship; those battling addiction and substance-use disorders are also experiencing heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can make prevention and recovery efforts more difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an amplified sense of urgency to PARC’s mission to translate the latest research into patient care. 

Please join us in the pursuit of the following research themes:

1. Correcting Disparities in Pain and Addiction Care 

2. Identifying new ways to prevent and treat chronic pain and addiction 

a. Mechanisms of Pain and Addiction 

b. Drug Discovery and Natural Products 

c. Emergency Medicine and Outpatient Care 

d. Neuromodulation in Treatment of Chronic Pain 

e. Complementary and Integrative Health  

3. Improving Pain and Addiction Education for Providers and Students

4. Furthering Pediatric Pain and Addiction Care  

5. Advancing Cancer Pain Management                                                                                          Join Us!


We will also launch a campaign to educate clinicians and students on effective assessment and management of chronic pain, with an emphasis on non-pharmacologic and non-opioid approaches, as well as a complementary addiction-medicine campaign that aims to address knowledge gaps around addiction identification and treatment throughout UCSF Health and beyond.