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Researchers Seek Greater Role for Psychologists in Fighting Opioid Addiction

October 03, 2019

With the opioid crisis creating “the most significant public health, social, economic and mental health burdens the United States has faced in decades,” in the words of one academician, he and a colleague are urging a greater focus on the role psychologists can play in improving care for the affected population.

Brian Borsari, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and Jennifer Read, professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, have co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology that is focused on responses to the opioid crisis. In the issue, published online Sept. 25, the editors focus on research in clinical psychology that addresses assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The papers in the issue identify gaps in knowledge and offer suggestions for how clinical psychologists can work toward providing more effective care for the opioid-affected individuals they encounter in a variety of public health settings.

“One of the big challenges in the field is how psychologists can work with people who experience chronic pain,” Read said in a news release from the University at Buffalo. “Are there ways we can work with people who are prescribed opioids for pain management that might prevent them from becoming addicted, misusing, or diverting them to others?”

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