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Pain and Opioid Use

The Pain and Opioid Use Actively Managed Portfolio (POU AMP) was organized to proactively interact with relevant VA clinical services and other governmental partners to better identify and respond to critical research priorities, bring together researchers, and to support investigator-initiated research for the benefit of Veterans.  The POU AMP funds preclinical, translational, behavioral, epidemiological, and health services/implementation research applications where pain and opioid use -- and the consequences of opioid use -- are the primary outcome of the study.


  • Clinical studies of the genetic, anatomical, and behavioral basis that research pain, opioid tolerance, opioid dependence or addiction, and opioid metabolism.
  • Studies identifying therapeutic targets for pain in acute and/or chronic painful conditions; or identifying mechanisms and modifiable targets related to opioid tolerance, withdrawal, and/or other harmful physiological adaptations to opioid use.
  • Implementation of treatments, approaches, and methods to enhance pain services.
  • Evaluation of the quality and safety of pain care, opioid use disorder care, and tapering of opioid medication.
  • Preclinical development and translation of non-opioid therapies and accompanying anatomical, molecular, biochemical, behavioral, and genetic mechanisms of pain or opioid tolerance.
  • Preclinical and clinical research to improve outcomes in opioid use disorder (OUD), including new models for care, medication, and behavioral therapies; overdose prevention and treatment; and the role of whole health and complementary and integrative approaches.
  • Investigations that will yield new biomarkers for pain.
  • Studies using electronic health record/Million Veteran Program (MVP), and similar Veteran data to conduct retrospective studies and data analyses to improve understanding of basis of pain, opioid tolerance, opioid dependence/addiction, opioid metabolism, progression, genetic susceptibilities, effectiveness of pain or OUD therapies, and of opioid tapering.
  • Clinical treatments emphasizing non-opioid medications, Whole Health and complementary and integrative approaches.

Areas of Special Emphasis:

  • Studies of fentanyl adulterated with xylazine
  • Harm reduction services and treatment programs that reduce pain medication usage but not complete abstinence.
  • Pharmacogenomics and biomarker to guide clinical care in pain and OUD (discovery, repurposing and effectiveness)

Additional Resources


Dr. Carol Fowler, BLR&D,  

Dr. Jayanthi Sankar, CSR&D,

Dr. Cathie Plouzek, HSR&D,

Dr. Audrey Kusiak, RR&D,

Funding Opportunities

The below list includes some of our current or most recent funding opportunities. VA funding is available to VA investigators only.  For more information, please refer to the VA ORD Intranet site for further details, at (copy and paste this link into your browser). The Intranet page is not available to the public.

Parent Merit Review Award (Pain and Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio, I01) (Released September 22, 2023)

Pain and Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio (POU-AMP) Clinical Trials ; (Released September 22, 2023)

Pain and Opioid Use Actively Managed Portfolio - Pharmacogenomics/Biomarker Studies to Guide Clinical Care in Pain and OUD (I01) (Released September 22, 2023)

Studies on Opioids Adulterated with Xylazine (Released August 21, 2023; Updated September 22, 2023)

Pain and Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio (POU-AMP) Pre-application (I02) (Released April 19, 2023 and April 28, 2023; Released September 22, 2023)

Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.