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Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM - Medical Director

Pain and Addiction Specialist Mel Pohl M.D. FASAM

Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM - Medical Director


verified by Psychology Today

Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM is a Board Certified Family Practitioner. He is Vice President of Medical Affairs and the Medical Director of Las Vegas Recovery Center. Dr. Pohl was a major force in developing Las Vegas Recovery Center’s Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program. He is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), and a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). He is the former chairman of ASAM’s AIDS Committee, a member of the Symposium Planning Committee, a member of the planning committee for ASAM’s Annual “Common Threads, Pain and Addiction” Course and co-chair of ASAM’s Pain and Addiction Workgroup. Dr. Pohl is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. He was elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America® from 2009 to 2011. He is a nationally known public speaker and co-author of:

Professional Speaking

  • NCADD State Conference, Concord, New Hampshire Keynote Speaker full day seminar on Pain and Addiction (“A Day with Dr. Pohl”) 2013.
  • Brattleboro Retreat, Vermont Full day session on Pain and Addiction 2013.
  • Women's Wellness Weekend, Lake Tahoe, NV Keynote Speaker “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • Nevada Attorney General’s office, Carson City, NV Keynote “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • lark County Bar Association, Las Vegas, NV Keynote speaker “Disease of Addiction” 2013.
  • American Dental Association's Dentist Health and Wellbeing Conference, Chicago. Keynote speaker “Treatment of Pain in the Opioid Epidemic” The Council on Alcohol and Drugs 2013.
  • The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, Houston, TX Pain and Recovery Forum Keynote “A Day Without Pain: 2013
  • 39th Annual Winter Symposium, Colorado Springs, CO Keynote “Pain and Addiction” 2013
  • Steven Rummler Hope Foundation – Opioid Conference – Minneapolis, MN – Opioids and Pain 2013
  • Nevada Bar Association, Reno and Las Vegas, NV The Disease of Addiction: 2013
  • 5th Annual Mississippi Addictions Conference “Minding Minds and Mending Hearts” Jackson MS 2013
  • The Art of Recovery Expo – Keynote Speaker, Phoenix, AZ Pain and Addiction in the Age of Opioid Epidemic 2013
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV “Opioids Misuse and Abuse” lecture for physicians 2013
  • Hawaii NAADAC Balancing the Entanglement: Pain, Co-occurring Disorders, and Prescription Drugs – Maui and Honolulu, HI 2012
  • Dallas TAAP NOVA Conference – Dallas, TX Keynote “ Pain and Addiction: Treatment and Controversies” 2012
  • 2012 Nevada Drug Summit – Reno, NV “Pain Management and Opioid Addiction” 2012
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine – Reno, NV “Opioids – Misuse and Abuse” 2012
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) Review Course – “Sedative – Hypnotics” – San Francisco, CA 2012
  • Southwest School for Behavioral Studies – Keynote - “Chronic Pain and Addiction – A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” Tucson, AZ 2012
  • Foundations Recovery Network – Freedom and Recovery – San Diego, CA Keynote with Claudia Black – “Pain Recovery – The Interplay of Trauma and Chronic Pain” 2012
  • Alaska Annual School on Addictions and Behavioral Health – Keynote – Anchorage, AK– “Pain and Addiction: Challenging Co-occurring Disorders” 2012
  • West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders - Palm Springs – Keynote – “Prescription Drug Abuse – How did we get here? How do we get out of here?” 2012
  • St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Staff –Reno, NV “Opioids, Pain, and Addiction” 2012
  • Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine Tulalip, WA – “Chronic Pain, Addiction, and Pain Recovery” 2012
  • New Jersey Prevention Network 11th Annual Addiction Conference, Atlantic City, NJ Keynote Address “Chronic Pain and Addiction: The Most Challenging Co-occurring Disorder?” 2011
  • Counseling Advances Conference, Las Vegas, NV “Pain and Addiction: A Challenging Co-Occurring Disorder” 2011
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine Pain and Addiction Common Threads XII: Safety First: Best Practices, Washington, DC Co-presenter “Pain and Addiction: All in the Family” 2011
  • Network of Independent Interventionists Workshop, Las Vegas, NV “Pain and Addiction” 2011
  • Florida Medical Professionals Group Annual Conference, Orlando, FL “Pain and Addiction: A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” 2011
  • Annual Merrill Scott Symposium on Alcoholism and Other Chemical Addictions, Yakima, WA “Chronic Pain, Addiction, and Pain Recovery” 2011
  • Annual World Employee Assistance Professionals Conference, Tampa, FL “Pain and Addiction - A Challenging Co-occurring Disorder” 2010
  • Nevada Psychiatric Association Annual Conference – “Opioid Free Pain Treatment” Las Vegas, NV 2010
  • University Medical Center Grand Rounds – “Addressing the Barriers to Effective Pain
  • Management and Issues of Opioid Misuse and Abuse”, Las Vegas, NV 2010
  • University of Evansville Institute for Alcohol and Drug Studies – Keynote Speech: “Pain and Addiction, Challenges and Controversies” Evansville, IN 2010
  • NCADD Turek Conference: “Prescription Drug Abuse: The New Epidemic” Baltimore, MD 2010
  • University of Utah School on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies, Keynote Speech: “Pain and Addiction, Challenges and Controversies” Salt Lake City, UT 2010
  • Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) Annual Conference – “Addiction, What You Need to Know” Phoenix, AZ 2009
  • Neuroscience Meets Recovery – “Pain: It’s All in Your Head” Las Vegas, NV 2009
  • Berkshire County Medical Society, Keynote Speech – Opioid Risk Management Pittsfield, MA 2009
  • International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) – Chronic Pain and Addiction Workshop, Calgary, CAN 2009
  • Washington Academy of Pain Management (WAPM) – Recovery from Chronic Pain, Opioid Free – Leavenworth, WA 2009
  • National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors–“A Day without Pain” – Salt Lake City, UT 2009
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Annual Medical Scientific Conference – “Symposium on Medication Assisted Recovery – Point-Counterpoint” New Orleans, LA 2009
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Pain and Addiction Conference – “Addiction Pain Syndrome: Approaches to Opioid-Free Treatment” New Orleans, LA 2009
  • Behavioral Health and Addictive Disorders Conference – “A Day Without Pain” – Clearwater Beach, FL 2009
  • Southeast Conference on Addictions (SECAD) – “Addictions and Pain – Challenges & Controversies” Atlanta, GA 2009
  • US Journal – Adult Children of Alcoholics – “Families in Pain” Orlando, FL 2008
  • Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) Annual Conference, “Pain and Addiction” Napa, CA 2008
  • US Journal – Interventions Conference – Family Interventions – “Patients with Pain and Addiction” Las Vegas 2008
  • US Journal Adolescent Conference – “Drug Abuse in Adolescents: The Good News and Bad News” Las Vegas 2008
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) – State of the Art Conference – “Pain and Addiction” Los Angeles, CA 2007
  • California Society of Addiction Medicine Review Course – “Benzodiazepines” 2004
  • Nevada Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Summer School-Co-occurring disorders 1998
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine - AIDS and Addictions - Annual Meetings 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997
  • Betty Ford Center Conference on Chemical Dependency, "AIDS and Chemical Dependency" Palm Springs, 1992 and "The Caregivers' Journey" 1993


  • Publications:

  • Pohl, M. 2011. A Day without Pain, Revised Edition, Central Recovery Press 2011
  • Pohl, M, Szabo, F, Hunter, R, and Shiode, D. 2010, Pain Recovery for Families, How to Find Balance when Someone Else’s Chronic pain Becomes Your Problem Too, Central Recovery Press
  • Pohl, M, Szabo, F, Hunter, R, and Shiode, D. 2009, Pain Recovery, How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain, Central Recovery Press
  • Pohl, M and Smith, L, 2011 Chronic Pain Management Using Buprenorphine: Questions and Considerations J of Global Drug Policy and Practice 5 (1)
  • Pohl, M. and Smith, L., 2012 Chronic Pain and Addiction: Challenging Co-occurring Disorders Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44 (2), 1–6
  • Pohl, M., 2012 The Prescription Drug Epidemic: The Counselor’s Role, Counselor Magazine 13 (3), 20-22
  • Pohl, M., 2007 Chronic Pain, Opioids, and Addiction: Challenges and Controversies, Counselor Magazine
  • Pohl, M. 1988 Counseling Patients in Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs about AIDS, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 20 (2), pgs. 223-226
  • Pohl, M. and Ryan, C., 1987 Protocol for AIDS Education and Risk Reduction Counseling in Chemical Dependency Treatment Settings, ARC Research Foundation
  • Pohl, M. 1987 Neurocognitive Impairments in Alcoholics: Review and Comparison with Cognitive Impairment Due to AIDS. Advances in Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Haworth Press, Vol. 7 (2), p. 107-116
  • Pohl, M. and Karon, L. 1989 Co-editors, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Integrating AIDS Prevention in Chemical Dependency Treatment, Vol. 21 (4)
  • The Caregivers Journey: When You Love Someone with AIDS, Hazelden, 1990
  • Pohl, M. 1991. Residential Treatment for Chemically Dependent HIV Clients", Journal of Chemical Dependence Treatment, Haworth Press
  • Addiction Counseling Review, HIV/AIDS, Chapter12, p.273-292, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
  • Principles of Addiction Medicine, “Pain in Special Populations”, Chapter 2, Section 12, American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2003
  • Principles of Addiction Medicine, “Lesbians and Gay Men”, Chapter 3, Section 18 American Society of Addiction Medicine, 1994
  • Sexuality and AIDS, Hazelden, 1991
  • Grief and AIDS, Hazelden, 1991
  • Staying Sane: When You Care for Someone with Chronic Illness, Health Communications, 1992

Articles of Mel Pohl, MD, FASM's psychologytoday blog

Dr. Pohl addresses the attendant emotional issues that occur with chronic pain and explains how they are just as important as the physical healing process itself.read more

Dr. Pohl shares his thoughts on the recent publication of the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and Substance-related disorders and addiction.read more

In a previous post I shared five of the most surprising lessons I’ve learned about chronic pain from treating patients. I now want to expand on the first two: that all pain is real, and that emotions drive the experience of pain. These two points are inextricably linked, and I want to clear up some common misconceptions about the connection between the two.read more