Photo of Benjamin J. Morasco, Ph.D.

Benjamin J. Morasco Ph.D.

Dr. Morasco is a Staff Psychologist at the VA Portland Health Care System and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU. He conducts clinical research on issues related to chronic pain, with interests in improving pain treatment outcomes in patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. He is currently funded by grants from NIH, Department of Veterans Affairs, and PCORI to conduct clinical and observational trials designed to improve pain treatment outcomes and enhance the safety of common chronic pain interventions. Dr. Morasco also provides clinical services in the substance use disorder specialty clinic at the Portland VA.


  • B.A., University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls Iowa United States 1997
  • M.A., John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, New York New York United States 1999
  • Ph.D., Saint Louis University, St. Louis Missouri United States 2003
  • Internship:

    • University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, 2003
  • Fellowship:

    • Postdoctoral Fellowship in health psychology. Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living. Hartford, Connecticut 2004
    • Postdoctoral Fellowship in addictive behaviors. University of Connecticut Health Center. Farmington, Connecticut 2005


Selected publications

  • Morasco BJ, Duckart JP, Dobscha SK. Adherence to clinical guidelines for opioid therapy for chronic pain in patients with substance use disorder. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2010;26:965-971.

  • Morasco, B.J., Gritzner, S., Lewis, L., Oldham, R., Turk, D.C., & Dobscha, S.K. (2011). Systematic review of prevalence, correlates, and treatment outcomes for chronic non-cancer pain in patients with comorbid substance use disorder. Pain, 152, 488-497.

  • Morasco, B.J., Corson, K., Turk, D.C., & Dobscha, S.K. (2011). Association between substance use disorder status and pain-related function following 12 months of treatment in primary care patients with musculoskeletal pain. The Journal of Pain, 12, 352-359.

  • Morasco, B.J., Duckart, J.P., Carr, T.P., Deyo, R.A., & Dobscha, S.K. (2010). Clinical characteristics of veterans prescribed high doses of opioid medications for chronic non-cancer pain. Pain, 151, 625-632.

  • Lozier CC, Nugent SM, Smith NX, Yarborough BJ, Dobscha SK, Deyo RA, Morasco BJ. Correlates of use and perceived effectiveness of non-pharmacologic strategies for chronic pain among patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2018;33:46-53.

  • Nugent SM, Yarborough BJ, Smith NX, Dobscha SK, Deyo RA, Green CA, Morasco BJ. Patterns and correlates of medical cannabis use for pain among patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy. General Hospital Psychiatry 2018;50:104-110.

  • Nugent SM, Morasco BJ, O'Neil ME, Freeman M, Low A, Kondo K, Elven C, Zakher B, Motu'apuaka M, Paynter R, Kansagara D. The effects of cannabis among adults with chronic pain and an overview of general harms: A systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine 2017;167:319-331.

  • Lovejoy TI, Morasco BJ, Demidenko MI, Meath TH, Frank JW, Dobscha SK. Reasons for discontinuation of long-term opioid therapy in patients with and without substance use disorders. Pain 2017;158:526-534.

  • Morasco BJ, Yarborough BJ, Smith NX, Dobscha SK, Deyo RA, Perrin NA, Green CA. Higher prescription opioid dose is associated with worse patient-reported pain outcomes and more health care utilization. Journal of Pain 2017;18:437-445.

  • Morasco BJ, Krebs EE, Cavanagh R, Hyde S, Crain A, Dobscha SK. Treatment changes following aberrant urine drug test results for patients prescribed chronic opioid therapy. Journal of Opioid Management 2015;11:45-51.


  • "Psychological Factors that Promote and Inhibit Pathological Gambling" Cognitive and Behavioral Practice May 2007
  • "Correlates of higher-dose opioid medication use for low back pain in primary care" Journal of Pain November 2012
  • "Correlates of prescription opioid initiation and long-term opioid use in veterans with persistent pain" Clinical Journal of Pain February 2013
  • "Psychometric Properties of the Centrality of Pain Scale" Journal of Pain July 1 2015
  • "Gambling problems and health functioning in individuals receiving disability" Disability and Rehabilitation May 2006
  • "Pain, Substance Use Disorders and Opioid Analgesic Prescription Patterns in Veterans with Hepatitis C" Journal of Pain and Symptom Management July 2008
  • "Patterns and Correlates of Prescription Opioid Use in OEF/OIF Veterans with Chronic Noncancer Pain" Pain Medicine October 2011
  • "Serum serotonin levels are associated with antiviral therapy outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis C" Open Infectious Diseases Journal  2010
  • "Antiviral completion rates and sustained viral response in hepatitis C patients with and without preexisting major depressive disorder" Psychosomatics September 2009
  • "Construct validity of the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist in cancer survivors" Psychological Assessment September 2004
  • "Pain-related anxiety mediates the relationship between depressive symptoms and pain interference in veterans with hepatitis C" General Hospital Psychiatry November 1 2015
  • "Clinical features and treatment prognosis of pathological gamblers with and without recent gambling-related illegal behavior" Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law  2007
  • "Severity of gambling is associated with physical and emotional health in urban primary care patients" General Hospital Psychiatry March 2006
  • "The relationship between PTSD and chronic pain" Pain April 2013
  • "Patients Undergoing Substance Abuse Treatment and Receiving Financial Assistance for a Physical Disability Respond Well to Contingency Management Treatment" Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment November 1 2015
  • "Risk for prescription opioid misuse among patients with a history of substance use disorder" Drug and Alcohol Dependence January 1 2013
  • "Prescription opioids for back pain and use of medications for erectile dysfunction" Spine May 15 2013
  • "Association between substance use disorder status and pain-related function following 12 months of treatment in primary care patients with musculoskeletal pain" Journal of Pain March 2011
  • "Trauma-focused intervention after bone marrow transplantation" Behavior Therapy December 2000
  • "Health problems and medical utilization associated with gambling disorders" Psychosomatic Medicine November 2006
  • "The utility of the NEO-PI-R validity scales to detect response distortion" Journal of Personality Assessment June 2007
  • "Comparison of health service use among veterans with methamphetamine versus alcohol use disorders" Journal of Addiction Medicine  2014
  • "The relationship between measures of psychopathology, intelligence, and memory among adults seen for psychoeducational assessment" Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology May 2006
  • "Short-Term Variability in Outpatient Pain Intensity Scores in a National Sample of Older Veterans with Chronic Pain" Pain Medicine May 1 2015
  • "Patterns of care and side effects for patients prescribed methadone for treatment of chronic pain" Journal of Opioid Management September 2013
  • "Predictors of pain intensity and pain functioning in patients with the hepatitis C virus" General Hospital Psychiatry  2010
  • "Treatment changes following aberrant urine drug test results for patients prescribed chronic opioid therapy" Journal of Opioid Management January 1 2015
  • "Chronic Pain Treatment and Health Service Utilization of Veterans with Hepatitis C Virus Infection" Pain Medicine November 2012
  • "Erratum to "A randomized trial of paroxetine to prevent interferon-α-induced depression in patients with hepatitis C" [Journal of Affective Disorders 103 (2007) 83-90] (DOI" Journal of Affective Disorders February 2009
  • "A Randomized Trial of Brief Interventions for Problem and Pathological Gamblers" Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology April 2008

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