Southern Research, a not-for-profit organization with nearly 500 scientists and engineers working in drug discovery and development, engineering, energy and environment, was recently awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health to fund the development of opioid drugs for chronic pain. These pipeline medications could soon offer market treatment options that cause less adverse effects than traditional and frequently prescribed drugs, such as morphine. The grant will be awarded over 5 years and totals $4.5 million. The funding will be used to plan and create new pain relief compounds and proceed with in vitro and in vivo testing to identify which new compounds have the most promise to advance into further development. Today, it is estimated that over 100 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. This strains the country's economy by roughly $600 billion in health dollars every year, which is surprisingly greater than the combined economic cost of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. When prescribing for moderate to severe acute and chronic pain, physicians usually resort to opioids, which bear a high risk of adverse side effects, such as drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and respiratory depression, which can either be dangerous for high-risk patients or diminish one's ability to carry out activities of daily living. Long term use of opioids has also been linked to physical dependence, and addiction. These potent opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and many others. "There is a crucial, medical need for novel painkillers that are as effective as morphine, without the significant side effects,"