Substance Use and Addiction Research: Methodology, Mechanisms, and Therapeutics

Allyson L. Spence, Belmont University
Peter S. Cogan, Regis University
Bianca B. Calderon, Regis University
Alan David Kaye, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Kailey L. Potthoff, Regis University


Opioid analgesics are the current mainstay therapy for treating severe nociceptive pain. When determining the appropriate opioid treatment regimen, such as the specific opioid to be administered, dose and frequency, and route of administration, it is important to consider what type of pain the patient is experiencing (e.g., acute or chronic) and how quickly this pain needs to be alleviated. Thus it is important to understand both pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of opioid medications. Although these drugs are highly efficacious in treating pain, they also possess a high potential for misuse. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of these medications play a role in their potential for misuse. For example, while a faster onset of action will provide more instantaneous pain relief, it is also associated with feelings of euphoria and thus increases a drug’s potential for misuse.