van Ameringen Chair in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Professor of Nursing

In response to what the US Office of Drug Control Policy refers to as an “epidemic of prescription opioid abuse,” Peggy Compton explores the phenomena of opioid-induced hyperalgesia and addiction in patients on opioid therapy for the treatment of chronic pain. It is estimated that between 5 and 8 million Americans use prescription opioids on a daily basis for pain management, however this therapy is not an evidence-based intervention.

As evaluation data accumulates, it is becoming clear that outcomes are often poorer for patients on opioid therapy, and that a growing number of patients with chronic pain present with opioid use disorders. Her current work with chronic pain patients evaluates strategies to successfully taper them off opioids, determine if such tapers result in improved pain perception, and evaluate the role of responsible opioid prescribing to minimize untoward outcomes in this population.

“Substance abuse is a chronic disease and major source of morbidity and mortality in the US; it is also an exemplar for independent nursing intervention. Understanding how it affects the human experience of pain is critical to treating the suffering associated with each.”


  • post-doc, University of California Los Angeles, 1995
  • PhD, New York University, 1993
  • MS, Syracuse University, 1986
  • BSN, University of Rochester, 1982