No Longer Silent
Better chronic pain treatment will improve the lives
of millions of Americans, save billions of dollars, and
reduce opioid misuse.
PAINS No Longer Silent initiative is designed to change the current norms, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of the public about the disease of chronic pain and to establish and promote comprehensive pain management as the standard of care. Our objective is to:
- Change the beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of media about chronic pain as a disease
- Increase media coverage and support evidence based reporting of chronic pain
- Change the beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of the media about the relationship between chronic pain and the opioid epidemic
- Decrease media coverage that conflates the opioid epidemic with chronic pain
A Path Forward
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report titled Relieving Pain in America. This landmark report called for a cultural transformation in pain prevention, care, education, and research and recommended the development of a “comprehensive population health strategy” to address the issues around chronic pain. The major findings of the report included:
- 100 million Americans live with chronic pain (more than all those with diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined)
- $500 – 635 billion spent each year on healthcare treatment and lost productivity
- The burden is disproportionate to those who are underserved
- There is a moral imperative to treat pain
In response, in March 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published The National Pain Strategy Report (NPS). One section of the NPS Report focused on the need for public education and communication strategy. There is widespread agreement that it is essential that the public recognize chronic pain as a neurological disease and a major public health issue. Furthermore, it is critical that the corollary between efforts to improve chronic pain management and the opioid epidemic be clearly defined and understood. In the past few years, a very public debate has emerged pitting chronic pain and the opioid epidemic against one another.
Many chronic pain advocates fear that efforts to address the opioid epidemic will have significant unintended consequences and make their lives even more challenging.