Opioid use for chronic pain is a big problem in North America, and many who start out taking narcotic pain medications for legitimate pain end up with a substance abuse problem or even prescription drug addiction as a result of opioid use. A new study by the University of Utah shows that mindfulness techniques can help reduce the use of opioid drugs among people who suffer from chronic pain, and help prevent or minimize the risk of prescription drug abuse and addiction. The program that was developed by researchers at the university is called MORE, or Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement, and the results were very promising. The researchers use mindfulness techniques in order to help individuals who have chronic pain recover a feeling of meaning and a sense of accomplishment in their daily lives, and to lower the rate and the risks of prescription opioid use, abuse, and addiction.
The new study on mindfulness, opioid use, and chronic pain utilizes the latest developments and data on chronic opioid use and other types of substance abuse. Dr. Eric L. Garland was the lead researcher, and the results of the research can be found in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The study participants received 2 months of mindfulness oriented training to decrease opioid use and treat chronic pain, and meditation was included in the techniques used. According to Dr. Garland “These findings are scientifically important because one of the major theories about how and why addiction occurs asserts that over time drug abusers become dulled to the experience of joy in everyday life, and this pushes them to use higher and higher doses of drugs to feel happiness. This study suggests that this process can be reversed. We can teach people to use mindfulness to appreciate and enjoy life more, and by doing that, they may feel less of a need for addictive drugs. It’s a powerful finding.”