Campus News

Pain and opioid addictions expert to deliver Bullough Lecture


Published March 17, 2017

headshot of Bullough lecturer Peggy Compton.

Peggy Compton

The opioid epidemic affecting the nation will be the focus of the School of Nursing’s 20th Annual Bonnie Bullough Lecture, which will be presented by University of Pennsylvania nursing faculty member Peggy Compton.

In her presentation, “Addiction, Opioids and Pain: Exemplar Nursing Science,” Compton will explore the overlap between pain and addiction disorders, how opioids can alter pain perception, strategies for responsibly prescribing pain medication and how to recognize substance use disorders in patients with chronic pain.

The Bullough Lecture is the keynote event of the School of Nursing’s annual Research Day, which unites nursing scholars across Western New York to discuss and share advancements in the study of pressing health care issues.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 3-4 p.m. March 31 in 403 Hayes Hall, South Campus. A reception will follow. Those attending are asked to register before March 23.

“Dr. Compton will address opioid abuse in chronic pain patients, a timely and urgent topic. Her presentation will provide relevant research evidence and clinical challenges regarding this topic, and increase our understanding of this growing public health concern,” says Yu-Ping Chang, associate professor and associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing.

Prescription opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions, with more than half of patients being treated for chronic pain reportedly misusing their medication at some point.

Opioids are one of the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat individuals with chronic pain, an issue that affects nearly half of Americans at some point in their lives. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2012 some 259 million opioid pain medication prescriptions were written, enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of pills.

“Substance abuse is a chronic disease and major source of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. It is also an exemplar for independent nursing intervention,” says Compton.

“Understanding how it affects the human experience of pain is critical to treating the suffering associated with each.”

Compton, the van Ameringen Chair in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and an associate professor at the Penn nursing school, studies the pain responses of opioid-addicted individuals, and is an expert in detecting abuse and addiction among patients with chronic pain. Her research explores opioid addiction from a neurophysiological and clinical perspective with a focus on how the presence of pain affects its expression. More recently, she has studied pain-opioid interactions on immune cells.

She has received numerous awards, including the Research in Addictions Nursing Annual Award from the International Nurses Society on Addictions, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Compton is the recipient of more than $2 million in grant funding from institutions that include the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and she has published nearly 40 articles in academic journals.

In addition to practicing as a staff nurse at several hospitals and medical centers, Compton has taught at Yale University, Georgetown University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

She earned a doctorate in nursing science from New York University, a master’s degree in neuroscience nursing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Rochester.

The Annual Bonnie Bullough Lecture was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Bullough, dean of the School of Nursing from 1980-91.

Bullough is remembered for her focus on faculty development and establishing the school’s doctoral program. The endowed lecture brings prominent leaders to the school to speak on topics relevant to the nursing profession.

The Bullough Lecture is the final event of Research Day, which will include an additional lecture by Compton from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in 403 Hayes Hall. That discussion, “Translational Research in Opioid Use Disorder and Chronic Pain,” is co-sponsored by the UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute and will address pain management and opioid abuse.

Other presentations will take place from 9:50-11:30 a.m.:

  • “Current Policy for Opioid Epidemic,” Gale Burstein, Erie County health commissioner.
  • “Motivation Interviewing in Managing Prescription Opioid Abuse in Older Adults,” Jade Cassalia, DNP candidate in the School of Nursing.
  • “Clinical Challenges on Treating Patients with Opioid Abuse in Primary Care,” Paul Updike, an internist at Catholic Health Systems.
  • “Naloxone Access and Changes in Opioid Use Behaviors,” Sarah Heavey, PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.
  • “Health Care Utilization in People with Opioid Use Disorders,” Yu-Ping Chang, associate professor and associate dean for research and scholarship, School of Nursing.

A poster session that includes research presentations by UB nursing students will follow.

For more information on Research Day or the Bullough Lecture, visit the School of Nursing's website.