Pain sufferers do not belong in the “war on drugs” Fix this before more suicides occur!
Letter To: President of the United States U.S. Senate
Stop using pain sufferers as a community in the “war on drugs”! Help pain sufferers to not be treated as “drug addicts” rather than what we really are: “Drug Dependent”!
There used to be many options out there to help chronic and intractable pain sufferers. Now, the help is not out there and physician’s (even pain physicians, anesthesiologists, etc.) are afraid to truly help for fear of reprimands by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Impediments to the use of opioids include concerns about addiction, respiratory depression and other side effects, tolerance, diversion, and fear of regulatory action.
The possibility of pain sufferers becoming addicts is very low. There are 2 different categories that are important in dealing with pain (not the pain disorder or disease itself). First are those individuals who have chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts 6 months or more. In this case there are treatments, medications, surgeries, etc. that may help the pain sufferer. The second population are those pain sufferers who have intractable pain. Intractable pain is pain which lasts longer than 6 months but there is nothing that can be done to help the sufferer at that point in history. There are no surgeries, procedures or treatments that can help this kind of pain sufferer. The only thing that can be done is to keep the pain sufferer comfortable (usually by medications), until a treatment, surgery, or procedure becomes available or until the patient expires. In this case, the pain does not have to be cancer pain. Many intractable pain sufferers do not have cancer, but should be treated as well as the cancer patients are.
Since chronic and intractable pain are not single entities (but may have myriad causes and perpetuating factors), these strategies and options vary from behavioral methods and rehabilitation approaches to the use of a number of different medications, including opioids. Both types of chronic and intractable pain sufferers need to be treated as a whole. In other words, the sufferer needs to be treated as a whole person and thus have a physician or group of physicians that will treat the many facets of chronic and intractable pain.
State laws and policies about opioid use are currently undergoing revision. Many states have adopted a “pain patient bill of rights”. Unfortunately, in many states, the bill of rights is not upheld for pain sufferers. We now have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) trying to put their own guidelines into how pain sufferers are treated.
What is necessary is to adopt laws and/or guidelines that specifically recognize the use of opioids and treating the pain sufferers as a whole (not just opioids but other treatments) to treat chronic pain. We also need separate and specific guidelines for treating pain sufferers who have intractable (Cancer or noncancer) pain.
We need to have increased public awareness of what chronic and intractable pain does to a pain sufferer and their families, friends and significant others. These statements should serve as indicators of increased public awareness of undertreated pain and help clarify that the use of opioids (and other medications and treatments) for the relief of chronic and intractable pain is a legitimate medical practice.
Due to concerns about regulatory scrutiny, physicians need guidance as to what principles should generally be followed when prescribing opioids and other treatments for chronic, intractable or recurrent pain state. There also need to be guidelines for primary care physicians (or other physicians that are not pain specialists), when the pain sufferer is unable to see a pain specialist (such as distance away, long waiting lists and the amount of pain sufferers that need to be treated by a smaller amount of pain doctors).
Regulators have also expressed a need for guidelines to help them to distinguish legitimate medical practice from questionable practice and to allow them to appropriately concentrate on investigative, educational, and disciplinary efforts, while not interfering with legitimate medical care.
Our petition hopes to make universal pain guidelines for all chronic and intractable pain sufferers in all states of North America.
Make sure that pain patients have the right to adequate pain treatment and create a greater understanding among health care professionals, individuals and families who are struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the general public that pain is a serious public health issue and needs to change.
Offer a comprehensive guide of networks and resources and knowledge about issues in pain management with different pain syndromes.
To sign the petition, please go to this link: https://www.change.org/p/president-of-the-united-states-pain-sufferers-do-not-belong-in-the-war-on-drugs-fix-this-before-more-suicides-occur