One of the possible ways to reduce opioid overdoses is to limit the availability of opioids, but federal researchers have embarked on another route: figure out if patients really are in pain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced five short- and long-term research initiatives to “help end the opioid crisis.” Four deal with drug development to treat pain. The fifth involves developing methods to objectively measure pain in patients — not in animals (the old rat tail in the cold water test won’t work here) but in humans. We wondered how one could objectively measure pain, so we went to Michael E. Schatman, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pain Research and director of research and network development at Boston Pain Care, to find out. “There exist no objective measures of pain, nor will there ever be such a measure,” he told ADAW. “How does one measure something as subjective as pain objectively?” For more on the public-private partnership from the NIH, go to