Professor will study collection between pain, drug use


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recently awarded a $1.3 million grant to Joseph Ditre, a Syracuse University associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ditre will use the funding to create a program that focuses on the relationship between pain, hazardous drinking, and prescription opioid medications.

He will use a method called personalized feedback intervention (PFI) to create the first computer-based intervention technique that would offer individualized feedback in 20 to 30 minutes through a computer or smartphone.

PFI works by providing a baseline questionnaire. The patient’s answers are used to provide a personalized feedback presentation.

“The intent of the PFI is to develop discrepancy between continued hazardous drinking and alcohol-opioid co-use behaviors and stated goals for pain management,” Ditre said. “It will also challenge patients’ beliefs that drinking is an adaptive pain-coping strategy. Demonstrating that a single, brief, integrated, computer-based intervention can simultaneously address hazardous drinking and prevent concurrent use of alcohol and prescription opioid medication would provide a novel, impactful and highly disseminable intervention that is needed and easily implemented across a variety of healthcare settings.”

Hazardous drinking is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.