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Oklahoma State University

New OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery Addresses Mounting Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Novel Ways to Manage Pain

Tue, November 07, 2017
OSU-CHS Addresses Opioid Addiction Epidemic

The OSU Center for Health Sciences today announced the establishment of the OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery to combat the impact of opioid addiction in Oklahoma. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and now prescription drug abuse or opioid addiction is sweeping to epidemic proportion across Oklahoma.

OSU Center for Health Sciences has been a leader in addressing the opioid addiction epidemic engulfing Oklahoma. The new OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery will enable OSU Center for Health Sciences to play an even larger role in combatting the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. “As an academic health center, OSU Center for Health Sciences is committed to taking a leading role in battling the opioid addiction epidemic afflicting Oklahomans and their families. We have assets such as clinical expertise, research capability and educational resources that can be deployed to help curtail the misuse and abuse of opioids,” said Kayse Shrum, D.O., President, OSU Center for Health Sciences and Dean, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“The state of Oklahoma, like much of the nation, is in a crisis because of the opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Mike Hunter. “I applaud the OSU Center for Health Sciences for being a leader in helping us find a solution by investing in new research and strategies for prevention and treatment.”

In 2014, OSU-CHS was one of the first few medical schools nationwide to add an Addiction Medicine course to its medical school curriculum. In 2016, mandated clinical rotations at partnering agency 12&12, Inc. were embedded into the medical school curriculum. Most recently, OSU-CHS launched Project ECHO Addiction Clinic to push addiction treatment knowledge and pain management therapies out to rural areas. “Our Project ECHO Addiction Clinic is uniquely positioned to reach into the rural areas hit hardest by opioid dependency. Through ECHO, OSU-CHS is using videoconferencing technology to equip rural primary care providers with the knowledge and the skills they need to help their patients manage pain and to overcome opioid addiction. This will go a long way with increasing patient access in rural Oklahoma to addiction treatment and pain management services,” said Jason Beaman, D.O., Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at OSUCHS.

Most patients become unexpectedly addicted to opioids as pain management tools for conditions such as chronic back pain or for recovery from a routine surgical procedure such as knee or shoulder surgery. Prolonged prescription use can then lead to opioid abuse and addiction. Research is needed to understand the underlying causes that lead to addiction and to develop better guidelines for pain management. The OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery will focus research projects on critical areas such as addiction psychology, the role of the brain in perceiving and managing pain, opioid-related public policy, and alternative modalities for treating chronic pain. The establishment of the OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery comes at a critical time for Oklahoma as more and more Oklahomans are suffering from this terrible disease and struggling with pain. “It is imperative that we understand how the brain processes pain and identify evidence-based, non-narcotic alternatives for managing chronic pain. Osteopathic manipulative treatment, acupuncture, meditation and augmented reality are just a few examples of possible alternative therapies for pain management,” said Shrum.

The mission of the OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery is to champion a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to addiction and pain management through research, education and clinical care. The Center will be Oklahoma’s most comprehensive treatment and research center for understanding and treating pain and addiction. As part of the overall strategic goals for the OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery, OSU Center for Health Sciences plans to open an addiction clinic in Tulsa in 2018, to establish an Addiction Medicine Fellowship for the training of future addiction specialists, and to conduct groundbreaking research in all aspects of pain management and addiction.

Opioid Facts

  • Oklahoma is 1st in the nation for non-medical use of prescription drugs.
  • In 2015, enough opioids were prescribed in Oklahoma for every adult to have 100 pills
  • More Oklahoma adults age 25-64 die of unintentional prescription opioid overdoses than motor vehicle crashes.
  • Oklahoma has the 18th highest drug overdose death rate in the nation in 2015.

About the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences educates osteopathic physicians, scientists, allied health professionals and health care administrators for Oklahoma with an emphasis on serving rural and underserved Oklahoma. OSU-CHS offers graduate and professional degrees with over 1,000 students enrolled in academic programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the School of Allied Health, the School of Health Care Administration, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Forensic Sciences. OSU-CHS operates a network of clinics in the Tulsa area offering a multitude of specialty services including cardiology, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and women’s health.