Advancing Addiction Treatment: Dr. Nina Cooperman’s Presentation to the U.S. Congress

Dr. Nina Cooperman, RARC Chair of Treatment & Recovery and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, had the honor of presenting to the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus of the U.S. Congress on March 20, 2024. The panel presentation, titled “Healing the Opioid Crisis with Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement: A New, Neuroscience-Informed and Evidence-Based Treatment for Addiction and Chronic Pain” highlights the transformative impact of integrating mindfulness-based interventions into addiction treatment.

The prevalence of chronic pain among individuals in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) poses significant challenges, often leading to treatment discontinuation and opioid relapse. Dr. Nina Cooperman’s pioneering work, in collaboration with Dr. Eric Garland at the University of Utah, on Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) presents a promising avenue for addressing both chronic pain and opioid addiction concurrently.

MORE, an 8-week group therapy program, integrates mindfulness training, cognitive reappraisal skills, and savoring of natural rewards. This innovative approach aims to remedy hedonic dysregulation in brain reward systems underlying the link between chronic pain, OUD, and relapse. Grounded in dual-process theories of addiction, MORE targets both automatic and controlled processes involved in addiction, offering a comprehensive treatment strategy. In conclusion, MORE offers a holistic approach to addressing the complex interplay between chronic pain, opioid addiction, and relapse, ultimately improving outcomes and quality of life for individuals undergoing MMT.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Cooperman on this significant achievement and in expressing our gratitude for her ongoing commitment to improving the lives of individuals affected by addiction.