Published April 26, 2017
The theme of the University at Buffalo School of Nursing 2017 Research Day, held on March 31, was opioid addiction treatment and prevention, a public health problem that continues to plague Western New York and many communities throughout the nation.
The School of Nursing invited six experts to speak on various topics to address this opioid epidemic through research, policy, education and clinical practice.
Peggy Compton, PhD, RN, FAAN, an associate professor in the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Department of Family and Community Health, delivered the keynote address in conjunction with the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Seminar Series. An expert in detecting opiate abuse, her research explores pain and opioid addiction from a neurophysiological and clinical perspective focused on the phenomenology of addiction.
She has studied the pain responses of opioid-addicted individuals and opioid-induced hyperalgesia. The subject of her lecture, “Translational Research in Opioid Use Disorder and Chronic Pain,” examined complications that can arise from opioid analgesia.
“People who are on opioids ... may actually be more sensitive to pain than people who are not on opioids,” she said, “so if we encounter somebody who is taking opioids either for the management of addiction or chronic pain we need to understand that their pain is real.”
About 400 nurses, physicians and other health care workers and researchers, and members of the local media, were in attendance throughout the day. Coincidentally, just one day before the conference, local officials held what they called “an emergency press conference” to warn area residents about a suspected deadly batch of heroin which had caused the deaths of seven people in Erie County during a single 24-hour period that week. Among those officials was Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gail Burstein, who was also one of the scheduled speakers at the Research Day event.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid overdoses in the U.S. have quadrupled since 1999.
The next speaker in the CTSI Seminar Series is Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist and professor of structural biology Michael Levitt, PhD, on Tuesday, May 2, at 3:30 p.m. in Butler Auditorium, 150 Farber Hall, on UB’s South Campus.
This program is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR001412 to the University at Buffalo. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.