Session: Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement: Leveraging Social Work Science to Create Positive Change in the Opioid Crisis, from Prevention to Intervention (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

71 Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement: Leveraging Social Work Science to Create Positive Change in the Opioid Crisis, from Prevention to Intervention

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 5:15 PM-6:15 PM
Cluster: Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
Symposium Organizer:
Eric Garland, PhD, University of Utah
Shaun M. Eack, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Social work science has much to contribute to creating positive change for the millions of Americans suffering from opioid epidemic - a dire threat to public health that is now being addressed with extreme urgency at both clinical and policy levels. Over the past 20 years, the medical community began to more liberally prescribe opioids to treat chronic pain. Consequently, opioids are now among the most commonly misused drugs in the U.S; in 2018, 10.3 million people misused prescription opioids, with 2 million new opioid misusers that year. As a vector for opioid use disorder (OUD), prescription opioid misuse helped to fuel the current opioid epidemic and therefore represents a key target for prevention and intervention efforts. Individuals suffering from opioid misuse and OUD are often highly vulnerable and confront a range of structural inequalities and thus are in need of social work services.

To meet this need, Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) is an innovative social work intervention that was generated through a decade-long NIH-funded treatment development process (R03 to R34 to R01). MORE unites complementary aspects of mindfulness training, third-wave cognitive behavioral therapy, and principles from positive psychology into an integrative intervention designed to simultaneously target addictive behavior, stress, and chronic pain. To date, MORE has been studied in seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Now, social work scientists are studying MORE in earnest as a means of prevention and intervention for the opioid crisis.

This symposium will present evidence of the therapeutic mechanisms and efficacy of MORE people with chronic pain, opioid misuse, and OUD. This presentation brings senior experts and promising junior scholars in the field who will present data from RCTs examining MORE along the spectrum from prevention to intervention. First, we present late-breaking outcomes of a newly completed, R01-funded full-scale RCT of MORE as a treatment for prescription opioid misuse among people with chronic pain being treated in primary care - the largest trial of MORE to date (N=260). Second, we present results from a dismantling RCT (N=118) designed to disentangle the therapeutic effects of the mindfulness practices embedded within MORE on preventing long-term opioid use following surgery. Third, we present results from a RCT supported by the SSWR Doctoral Fellows Award on the effects of MORE on pregnant women who misuse and are addicted to opioids (N=51). Finally, our Discussant, Endowed Chair and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, will contextualize these findings within the scope of social work intervention research and emerging field of social work neuroscience. Implications of the MORE research program will be discussed, with a focus on what role social workers and practitioners can play in developing a workforce to help halt the opioid crisis. This symposium will present novel applications and new results from the definitive efficacy trial of MORE, an evidence-based practice developed through social work science for social work practitioners to prevent and treat addiction, stress, and pain - three of the most prevalent and pernicious public health crises of the modern age.

* noted as presenting author
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