It has come to my attention that the CDC is discussing the adoption of new guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain patients. Adopting these guidelines could hurt many patients who suffer enough already. The CDC is accepting written comments until September 18, 2015 at 5 PM EST. Pain News Network explained the guidelines and some of the responses to them, and I advise reading about them. If you would like to contact the CDC to comment, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not know what exactly to say, you can use the following form that I came up with – just replace the bracketed sections with your information. I also suggest reaching out to your representatives in congress and letting them know about your concerns.
To whom it may concern:
My name is [___] and I understand that you are considering new guidelines on prescribing opioid medications. While I understand the concern of patients becoming addicted, these restrictions could pose a real problem for patients. According to the NIH, only 5% of patients on opioid medication for more than a year become addicted. Please consider the 95% who could suffer significantly because of these guidelines.
Before I explain my position, let me say a little about who I am and why I care. [___] Because of this, I feel quite strongly about this issue. Here are the problems I have with the new guidelines.
- It often takes weeks, if not months, for non-pharmacological therapy (and especially non-opioid therapy) to reduce pain to the point where a patient who might need opioids does not any more. This especially applies to patients who have permanent damage to their bodies from illnesses or injuries. It’s difficult to get through life in the meantime, let alone go to work or school. In my experience, it is difficult to [___] without a medication, let alone opioids. Not having [___] would mean that I couldn’t [___].
- Many patients simply want to live without experiencing excruciating pain. What if they do not experience improvement in their general health while on opioids, but they at least do not live in complete misery? Is it more important to you that someone doesn’t take opioids than if they are unable to do anything other than lie in bed because they are in too much pain?
- Short-acting opioids simply mean that many patients will have to take more pills to get through a tough pain period. That seems a little contradictory to your goals.
- Anyone who is convinced that the majority of patients with acute chronic pain not related to trauma or surgery will have significantly reduced pain in 3 or fewer days has never experienced extreme acute pain. And if that patient has an underlying health issue that causes that acute pain, such as autoimmune arthritis, it will definitely not be solved in 3 days. In my experience, [___].
Overall, I have a question for you: why are you treating chronic pain patients like drug addicts? In the name of preventing addiction and overdose, people with severe legitimate pain are paying the price. [We/They] already suffer enough – why is the government trying to make [our/their] lives even more difficult?