Call for Papers—Pain and Opioids: A Public Health Crisis

Submissions are due on February 24, 2021, and can be submitted at Article guidelines and submission instructions are available at

To better understand the current pain and opioid public heath crises, the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, invites articles that focus on the multifactorial social and behavioral components that contribute to these two related crises. Responses to the interrelated crises of opioids and chronic pain in the United States require a comprehensive approach that brings together expertise and input from multiple disciplines and experiences that include for example: primary care providers; people who are in pain as well as those with substance use, misuse, addiction disorders; significant others; emergency departments; dentistry; law and the justice system; public health workers; and researchers in both substance abuse and pain.

Articles of interest will summarize previous research on a specific topic area related to these crises, identify research gaps, and provide empirical evidence and perspectives, all within the scope of public health. Topic areas of interest include: the public health dimension of prevention and treatment of opioid misuse in people experiencing chronic pain, particularly in the context of different care settings (e.g., primary care, specialists, allied and adjunct providers); the societal and community impacts of these crises (legal and justice system, economic impacts, minority health and health disparities, and social determinants of health); screening and treatment of chronic pain and opioid use disorder in the context of the U.S. health care system (e.g., access, reimbursement, payors, regulatory issues, and each of these in the context of the justice system); implications of the corelated crises for patients and their significant others and caretakers; the role and topics in the context of clinical, basic, prevention, and/or public education research and what is recommended for new important research directions. Also, of interest are papers that address the challenge of developing and implementing policies, particularly from the perspectives of regulators, payors, and health economists. It is essential that papers in any of these focus areas describe the current research and potential research directions for chronic pain and prescription opioid misuse/abuse separately and include a section that focuses on the integration of these related crises and its implications.

Potential authors should visit the AJPH website to review the Instructions for Authors and specific guidelines for the various types of manuscripts. Importantly, submissions must include a cover letter formatted as requested in the Instructions for Authors and should specify that the submission is for the special issue. In all manuscripts, the number of words, references, and tables/figures must correspond to a specific AJPH article format. Select manuscripts will undergo editorial review and eventual peer review by the AJPH editors and peer referees as defined by AJPH policy. Submissions are due on February 24, 2021, and can be submitted at Article guidelines and submission instructions are available at

Editors: Wendy E. Parmet, J.D., AJPH Associate Editor, and Nabarun Dasgupta, Ph.D., M.P.H., AJPH Associate Editor