A $9 million study, led by RTI International, aims to provide strategies for reducing opioid use among patients who are not benefitting from it while ensuring access to those who are benefitting. RTI will collaborate with the Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network which is centered at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and includes Duke University Health System and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More than 1,000 patients from North Carolina and Tennessee, states with high opioid use rates, will be enrolled in the study. Researchers will compare two interventions to evaluate their effect on opioid dosage, physical functioning and pain-related outcomes.

One intervention involves a shared decision-making process where patients and clinicians make evidence-based decisions together that align with the patients’ preferences and values. This approach requires strong communication between the patient and provider about the risks and benefits of treatment options.

The other intervention uses motivational interviewing as a goal-oriented counseling technique to enhance an individual’s motivation for behavior change. This involves cognitive behavioral therapy in group sessions to foster more positive thoughts, emotions and behaviors to help manage pain.


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