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POINT - Preventing an opioid epidemic in Norway: Focusing on treatment of chronic pain

We are research chronic pain treatment to minimize the risks associated with opioids.

About the project

We know that patients suffering from chronic pain need good treatment. The use of opioids for chronic, non-cancer related pain may seem appropriate in the short term, but can often have negative consequences for both the individual and society in the long term.

In addition, we lack a robust knowledge base showing that long-term treatment of chronic pain with opioids has a good effect. Negative consequences associated with long-term use lead to serious side effects, such as the risk of overdose and the development of addiction.

The ongoing opioid epidemic in the USA – caused by inappropriate prescribing of opioids to pain patients – has led to serious health and societal consequences.

Several factors—the escalating use of opioids to chronic pain patients, the increasing use of strong opioids in particular, and the increasing number of overdoses caused by prescription opioids—point to the start of an opioid epidemic in Norway. 


The overall goal of the POINT project is to provide knowledge to optimize treatment of patients with chronic pain in order to avoid unnecessary escalation of opioid treatment, improve their quality of life and reduce the burden of disease.

In the long run our objective is to prevent the unwanted consequences of opioid treatment and improve patients' quality of life.

Ultimately, through this project we hope to prevent an opioid epidemic in Norway.

To achieve our main goal, we will focus on pain patients and their doctors, as increasing opioid use may occur through the patient-doctor interaction.


Data from national registers will be used to identify risk factors for long-term use of opioids and consequences of long-term use.

Using qualitative methods we will systematize, describe and explain the patients' and treating physicians' perspectives on opioid treatment to improve communication between patient and physician.

The project will evaluate the effect of a knowledge-based training intervention aimed at general practitioners.

In addition, the project will develop and test two non-drug interventions that consist of an interdisciplinary group treatment and an e-health program with a focus on communication between patient and doctor as well as between other caregivers.


  • The Research Council of Norway


  • St. Olavs Hospital 

  • Stavanger Hospital Trust

  • City of Stavanger  

  • National Institute of Public Health (FHI)

  • Alcohol and Drug Research Western Norway (KoRFor) 

  • Foreningen for kroniske smertepasienter (FKS)
  • Norwegian Forum of Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (SAFO)

Participants at the POINT project's kickoff meeting in October 2021
POINT project's kickoff meeting in October 2021



  • Torp, Henrik Andreas; Skurtveit, Svetlana Ondrasova; Skaga, Nils Oddvar; Gustavsen, Ingebjørg G.; Gran, Jon Michael & Rosseland, Leiv Arne (2021). Pre-injury dispensing of psychoactive prescription drugs in a ten years trauma population: a retrospective registry analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. ISSN 1757-7241. 29(1), p. 1–8. doi: 10.1186/s13049-021-00939-6. Full text in Research Archive
  • Bramness, Jørgen G.; Hjellvik, Vidar; Stubhaug, Audun & Skurtveit, Svetlana (2021). Possible opioid-saving effect of cannabis-based medicine using individual-based data from the Norwegian Prescription Database. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. ISSN 1742-7835. p. 1–9. doi: 10.1111/bcpt.13660. Full text in Research Archive
  • Hamina, Aleksi; Handal, Marte; Fredheim, Olav; Clausen, Thomas; Chen, Li-Chia & Skurtveit, Svetlana Ondrasova (2021). Filled prescriptions for opioids among children and adolescents – A nationwide study from 2010 to 2018. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica. ISSN 0001-5172. 65(10), p. 1475–1483. doi: 10.1111/aas.13968. Full text in Research Archive
  • Odsbu, Ingvild; Handal, Marte; Hjellvik, Vidar; Borchgrevink, Petter Chr.; Clausen, Thomas & Hamina, Aleksi [Show all 9 contributors for this article] (2021). Use of other addictive drugs among opioid users with chronic pain. Norsk Epidemiologi. ISSN 0803-2491. 29(1-2), p. 45–53. doi: 10.5324/nje.v29i1-2.4045. Full text in Research Archive

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  • Skurtveit, Svetlana Ondrasova (2021). Hvordan unngå en opioidepidemi i Norge: Fokus på behandlin av langvarige smerter. Glimt. ISSN 1890-8489.
  • Odsbu, Ingvild; Handal, Marte; Hjellvik, Vidar & Skurtveit, Svetlana Ondrasova (2021). Trends in long-term use of prescribed opioids in Norway 2010-2019. .
  • Odsbu, Ingvild; Handal, Marte; Hjellvik, Vidar & Skurtveit, Svetlana Ondrasova (2021). Trends in long-term use of prescribed opioids in Norway 2010-2019. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. ISSN 1053-8569. 30, p. 53–53. doi: 10.1002/pds.5305.

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Published Apr. 15, 2021 2:17 PM - Last modified Jan. 10, 2022 4:50 PM


Principal Investigator


Detailed list of participants