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Why opioids are overrated for pleasure and pain

About the event

Opium, morphine and other opioids are famous for their ability to relieve pain and cause pleasure. These mythical effects may however be just that: mythical.

In recent years, systematic, well-controlled studies of opioid analgesics suggest little benefit from opioid treatment of chronic pain or even of acute musculoskeletal pain. In addition to reducing pain, opioid drugs change a cascade of other feelings, such as increased nausea, constipation and sedation that limit their clinical utility. The numerous unpleasant opioid effects are also thought to substantially dampen any opioid-induced pleasure.

In healthy people who do not regularly use opioids, the sum total is frequently a disliking of opioid drug effects. Healthy people will sometimes even pay money to *avoid* getting another opioid! I will discuss the evidence on how opioids change how people feel, and discuss how some of these opioid-related myths have become so persistent in science and society.

World Event Times

London – Tuesday 11 May 2021, 19:00 GMT

Oslo – Tuesday 11 May 2021, 20:00 CET

Amsterdam – Tuesday 11 May 2021, 20:00 CET

New York – Tuesday, 11 May 2021, 14:00 EDT

Adelaide – Wednesday, 12 May 2021, 03:30 ACST

Prof. Siri Leknes

Siri Leknes is a Professor of Social and Affective Neuroscience at the University of Oslo, Norway and Senior Researcher at Oslo University Hospital. She completed her D.Phil. at Oxford and postdoctoral research at Gothenburg University. Her lab in Oslo, the Leknes Affective Brain lab (LAB lab), studies how the brain and body give rise to pleasurable and painful feelings. One interdisciplinary project centred on benefits of acute pain and was awarded The Daniel M. Wegner Theoretical Innovation Prize in social/personality psychology. Currently, LAB lab specialises in drug studies. Through psychopharmacology in healthy humans, Leknes’ team charts how the brain’s neurochemical systems shape hedonic feelings, decisions and behaviour. LAB lab also conducts studies in drug-treated clinical populations. Leknes is currently funded by an ERC grant to study state-dependent effects of opioids and their relation to social support, stress and dopamine, as well as by the Regional Health Authority to study mood, stress and pain in clinical groups treated with opioid agonists and antagonists.

Get your tickets here!

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Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering

Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering


Opioid tapering guidelines were created, in part, to decrease harm to patients resulting from high-dose opioid therapy for chronic pain. However, countless “legacy patients” with chronic pain who were progressively escalated to high opioid doses, often over many years, now face additional and very serious risks resulting from rapid tapering or related policies that mandate extreme dose reductions that are aggressive and unrealistic.

Key Points

There are major concerns:

  • rapid, forced opioid tapering among outpatients;

  • mandated opioid tapers that require aggressive opioid dose reductions over a defined period, even when that period is an extended one.

Research papers

You can read a full text here

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Pain doesn’t stigmatize people. We do that to each other

Pain doesn’t stigmatize people. We do that to each other


This is a bit heavier reading yet really important, Pain doesn’t stigmatize people. We do that to each other. By DANIEL S. GOLDBERG JANUARY 23, 2020 – published on Well worth a read. For the full article you can the the link. 

 A bioethicist who did his PhD on stigma in chronic pain: 

‘I view stigma as the combination of difference plus deviance: An in-group marks an out-group as different on the basis of a shared demographic characteristic, then judges the out-group as deviant. This is precisely what happens too many people in pain. They are marked as different because of their pain, and then have that pain denied, invalidated, and delegitimized. This is more likely to happen to women and racial or ethnic minorities than to white men.’

To alleviate pain stigma, we also have to decouple it from the stigma directed toward opioid use. While these two types of stigma often occur in the same spaces, they are not identical. We stigmatize people in pain, like my friend Andrea, who neither take nor desire opioids. And we stigmatize individuals who take opioids even if they do not live with chronic pain. A focus on opioid stigma is welcome and important, but it is not equivalent to intervening specifically to address pain stigma. Both of these terrible burdens deserve our attention and efforts.

We have tools to effectively and fairly treat people who live with chronic pain. We have the power to help them live better. We should do so, and without stigma.

The author

Daniel S. Goldberg is a faculty member in the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. He is the principal investigator of an epidemiologic study related to addiction stigma funded by The Well Being Trust, a 501(c)(3).

Professor Goldberg also wrote ‘Pain, objectivity and history: understanding pain stigma‘ in BMJ and they did an interview with him about it:

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Empowered Relief: Improving access to interventions for pain relief and opioid reduction

About the event

Interested in opioid usage reduction? Then it doesn’t get much better than this!

We are SO excited to welcome, Stanford pain scientist, evidence-based psychologist, author and chronic pain suffer, Dr Beth Darnall to talk about the importance of patient-centered opioid prescribing and deprescribing. She will be looking at

  • The recent statistics around chronic pain and opioids.
  • A low or no-risk alternative to opioids.
  • The role of psychology in chronic pain.
  • The role of emotions in pain.
  • Why opioids are not a long-term strategy for pain.
  • Integrated strategies for pain-relief.

Beth will share insights into her published work as well as her ‘in-progress’ science on brief, digital, and home-based treatments for pain and opioid reduction.

This is going to be an incredible Le Pub Homebrew!

World Event Times

London – Wednesday 20 January 2021, 20:00:00 GMT

Amsterdam – Wednesday 20 January 2021, 21:00:00 CET

New York – Wednesday 20 January 2021, 15:00:00 EST

Adelaide – Thursday 21 January 2021, 06:30:00 ACDT

Beth Darnall, PhD

Beth Darnall, PhD, is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and author.

Dr. Beth Darnall, PhD

Beth Darnall is Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University. A pain psychologist, she has treated patients with chronic pain for 15 years. She serves on the boards of directors for several national pain organizations, editorial boards, is a section editor for Pain Medicine, and served as the 2012 President of the Pain Society of Oregon.

Her research — conducted mainly on women with chronic pain — includes investigations of pain catastrophizing and its impact on neural functioning, the immune system, and sensory perception. She is focused on broadening access to low-cost, high-quality pain psychology treatments. She is currently studying how optimizing psychology prior to breast cancer surgery may improve pain and recovery in women.

She serves as the primary investigator on more than $5 million in NIH funding. She is currently investigating mechanisms of catastrophizing and the single-session catastrophizing treatment she developed.

She is Co-Chair of the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s Task Force on Pain Psychology, and in 2015 received a Presidential Commendation from the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Her main passion is empowering people with chronic pain to harness the power of their mind-body connection to reduce symptoms and optimize health. She is author of Less Pain, Fewer Pills: Avoid the Dangers of Prescription Opioids and Gain Control Over Chronic Pain © 2014 and The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit © 2016.

Cancellation Terms

Places can be cancelled and refunded up to 48 hours before the start of the event. Within 48 hours of start time no refund.


Please note that Le Pub Home Brew is a LIVE EVENT. We are looking at options for giving access to recordings in the future, but right now, we are doing what we are best at – bringing you awesome live and interactive learning events!

Get your ticket HERE