(KXAN) As law enforcement agencies and community groups look for solutions to the escalating abuse of opioids in the United States, they may find an answer in the hands of a few University of Texas at Austin scientists.

A little over a month ago, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids include heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and pain relievers that can be obtained through prescriptions like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. While opioid prescription pain relievers can be useful for short term pain relief, regular use — even as prescribed — can lead to dependence and overdose.

But what if there were a way to prescribe pain relievers that didn’t lead to addiction? That’s what a group of chemists at UT are working to find out. Stephen Martin and James Sahn say their team has discovered a powerful new pain reliever that works in a previously unknown pathway of the brain.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.