How a University of Texas at Dallas startup aims to develop non-opioid pain relief drugs

Ted Price used to believe that people who abused opioids suffered from a failure of will. But after a freak spinal cord injury in 2006, Price’s views changed.

“I could see [the pain]. It was bright. That’s how I describe it. It felt like there was a vise around my leg that was on fire. … It was unbelievable how awful it was,” Price said.

The opioids that doctors gave him didn’t do anything to help. Surgery alleviated the pain, but the scars of how much everything hurt still haunt him.

Price believes people become hooked out of their desperation for relief — and they’ll use opioids even though the drugs are addictive and can result in overdoses. Opioid abuse “comes out of a desire that people have to make pain go away,” Price said. “And anybody that’s ever had pain for any period of time knows what that feels like. You want it to go away.”

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