OrthoCarolina physicians and the OrthoCarolina Research Institute (OCRI) are creating and implementing the Carolinas Opioid Reduction Effort (CORE) project, the nation’s first comprehensive study designed to assess the effectiveness of opioid-free pain management for patients.

The study, launching this month, will include hundreds of patients from common surgeries across various orthopedic subspecialities.

This groundbreaking research project seeks to identify safe, effective opioid-free alternative pain management options, eventually offering the national medical community a new protocol for future patient care.

The study will be performed by OrthoCarolina physician researchers in the downtown Charlotte area and is expected to take several years to complete. OrthoCarolina will collaborate with Atrium Healthcare, Novant Health and area Surgery Centers to have a team approach to improving patient safety while maintaining comfort during the surgical process.

More people die in the state of North Carolina annually of an accidental drug overdose, typically opioid-related, than any other cause of accidental death. N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, who has been vocal in his fight to combat the growing opioid epidemic, is a supporter of the CORE Research study.

The goal of the CORE project is to find effective alternative treatment protocols so that patients can recover from surgery comfortably but safely without the consequences of being on strongly addictive medications.