In 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, a trans-agency effort to advance scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis. Among the treatment solutions being studied in the NIH HEAL initiative, mindfulness-based interventions have been identified by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) as being potentially promising treatments for pain and opioid addiction. Social work scholars and practitioners have begun to pursue mindfulness-based interventions as a means of supporting individuals suffering from pain and opioid addiction. This symposium will present evidence of the therapeutic mechanisms and efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for pain and opioid addiction. This presentation brings together the Deputy Director of NCCIH with senior experts and promising junior scholars in the field who will present data on the role of mindfulness-based interventions in treating pain and opioid addiction.
Garland will present results from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the effects of an eight-week Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) on preventing opioid misuse risk and opioid dose escalation among chronic pain patients, with a focus on the cognitive, affective, and psychophysiological mechanisms underlying the treatment effect. Hanley will present results from a large RCT of the effects of a single brief session of mindfulness training, or hypnotic suggestion on pain and desire for opioids among patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. Washburn will present results from a study of a virtual reality-augmented mindfulness-based coping intervention for Latinx heroin users, with a focus on measures of physiological opioid cue-reactivity and self-reported craving. Cooperman will present ecological momentary assessment data from a RCT funded by the NIH HEAL initiative testing MORE as an adjunct to community-based methadone maintenance therapy in an inner city, low-income, predominately Black and Latinx sample. Lastly, NCCIH Deputy Director Shurtleff will serve as discussant by contextualizing these findings within the aims and scope of NIH HEAL initiative, and will discuss what role social work researchers and practitioners may play in developing a workforce to deliver mindfulness-based interventions to help halt the opioid crisis. This symposium will shed light on the promise, efficacy, and therapeutic mechanisms of mindfulness-based interventions for pain and opioid addiction.