Pain and Opioid Use in U.S. Soldiers
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:26 AM

A study published in last month’s JAMA Internal Medicine found an alarming high prevalence of chronic pain (44.0%) and opioid use (15.1%) in the U.S. military after combat deployment. These rates, much higher than estimated rates in the general public (26% and 4%, respectively), remind us of the burdens faced by returning soldiers after deployments, and their urgent and unmet needs for managing chronic pain. Opioids alone cannot be the answer.

NCCAM has prioritized working with the military and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to study nonpharmacologic approaches to managing pain. NCCAM Program Director Dr. Kristen Huntley has previously blogged about the Center’s interest in supporting research on complementary approaches for pain management in military and veteran populations and the Center’s three related funding opportunity announcements for researching nonpharmacologic approaches to managing pain and comorbid conditions.

NCCAM has established a Working Group of our Advisory Council to advise us on collaborations with the Department of Defense and VA on research of these problems. The group is charged with advising our Center on developing a potential initiative, suggesting strategies for collaboration among Federal agencies, and providing recommendations for implementing such an initiative. The Working Group is currently engaged in a series of deliberations.