One of the members of PAC wrote this and asked that we share it.
It is wonderful that there are a number of chronic pain sufferer advocacy groups on the Internet where people can come together and talk about their experiences. Sometimes, just being able to share your own story and know that others can relate can be satisfying and help a person deal with their emotional pain. I have personally joined a few of these groups and forums, and I have heard many horrific stories of people with severe chronic pain suddenly having their medications tapered or stopped for no other reason than their doctors succumbing to political pressure caused by the 2016 CDC guidelines for prescribing opiates. This is time do more than just come together in forums and discuss what is happening; THIS IS A TIME TO ACT. As I am writing this, politicians and government agencies are making decisions that will affect chronic pain sufferers for life. There is absolute hysteria in our country right now about stopping an “opioid epidemic,” and the wrong people are being blamed and penalized as a result. The CDC’s guidelines contained badly flawed information that made it seem like chronic pain sufferers are to blame for the epidemic. This is NOT TRUE and it has been proven as such. However, no one is in Washington speaking out on our behalf, so the only voices being heard are the voices that would restrict pain sufferers access to medication that makes life bearable. Our immediate mission is to raise enough funds to hire and send an experienced and qualified lobbyist to Washington to share the other side of the story. If our voices aren’t heard NOW, we stand to lose the only source of relief available for many of us. Many chronic pain sufferers have already resorted to suicide after having their medications tapered or stopped after years of responsible use. IF WE WAIT TO ACT, IT WILL BE TOO LATE. ONCE DECISIONS ARE MADE IN WASHINGTON, IT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO REVERSE THEM. I AM ONE CHRONIC PAIN SUFFERER, AND I CAN’T DO IT ALONE. IT IS TIME TO STOP HIDING IN THE SHADOWS IN SHAME AND FEAR. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH USING MEDICATION TO TREAT AN ONGOING ILLNESS. PLEASE HELP THE PAIN ADVOCACY COUNCIL RAISE THE NECESSARY FUNDS TO HIRE SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY TO SEND TO WASHINGTON DC ON OUR BEHALF.
Click the link below to listen to doctors and pain sufferers speak at the federal Pain Management Task Force meeting.
The last two years have been frightening for those millions of Americans who depend on medication to manage their chronic pain. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines in 2016 that suggest that doctors should begin to reduce the number of opioid pain medication prescriptions they write and reduce the dosages that individual patients are prescribed. The unfortunate reality that this has created is that many doctors are using these guidelines as law and not suggestions. Even worse, it has now come to light that the CDC used data that was seriously flawed when they developed these guidelines. Currently, there is almost a hysteria about an "opioid epidemic" that is supposedly sweeping the nation. This is just one more statement that is not based on fact. The Pain Advocates Council was founded to bring a rational voice to this national debate and to bring about change so that chronic pain sufferers can receive the medications that allow them to live their lives. Our mission is to work with state and federal legislators to effect change and create an understanding that, when used properly and in dosages that are based on a patients needs, opioids are truly a miracle drug for millions of chronic pain sufferers.
The Pain Advocates Council is not a cheerleader for opiates or drug companies. As our name states, we are advocates for the millions of Americans who live every day with pain. We are advocates for the doctors who help them get through the day by managing the pain, often with medications that effectively reduce the pain to a level that is tolerable. PAC condemns the misuse of medications and we don't support those very few doctors who don't always have the best interests of their patients as their most important concern. However, it is critical for everyone to understand that for millions of Americans, legally and ethically prescribed opiates are the ONLY resource they can turn to in order to be able to function at or near a level that is mostly pain free. And if you are fortunate enough to not suffer from chronic pain, please understand that for those who do suffer, the pain NEVER goes away.
Pain Advocates Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of pain sufferers and pain management medical professionals. Our mission is to remove the stigma that is associated with the millions of chronic pain sufferers who must use opioid pain medication to relieve their pain and live a more normal life. PAC is there to educate the general public about the misery that millions of Americans live with every day due to chronic pain and how this affects every aspect of their lives. We are also there to educate the lawmakers – state and federal representatives who are too often misled by one-sided information provided by anti-opiate groups and individuals.
Pain Advocates Council is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Any donation, including your membership, is tax deductible. Our Federal Tax ID number is 81-0793340.
From the NewEngland Journal of Medicine:
The recognition that opioid therapy can relieve pain and improve mood and functioning in many patients with chronic pain has led experts on pain to recommend that such patients not be denied opioids. Despite this recommendation, many physicians remain uncertain about prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain and do not prescribe them.
The legal use of opioids was thus placed entirely in the hands of physicians, who were, and still are, liable to lose their medical licenses and risk criminal prosecution if they prescribe these drugs inappropriately. The immediate effect of such strict regulatory control was that physicians became reluctant to prescribe opioids, and as a result pain was woefully undertreated.