April Fools Day – A National Day of Pain

April Fools Day – A National Day of Pain

April Fools Day is known around the world as a day for practical and sometimes impractical jokes, particularly ones that go viral in popular media. This year, chronic pain patients, their families and their doctors can instead choose to make April 1st a day of change and protest. It can become a National Day of Pain.

Those who have followed my columns on National Pain Report and elsewhere will be familiar with a theme that I have often sounded: lobby your legislators. That subject came up again in a two-hour interview on March 21st, broadcast from Manchester Vermont radio WMNH, “Matt Connarton Unleashed”. [U-Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rq4_-p8_OA&feature=share].

The needle on public policy for treatment of pain is beginning to quiver. Stories of people denied pain treatment or deserted by their doctors are appearing more often in popular media. Draft recommendations to Congress from the US Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Pain Management call for a serious and patient-centered change of direction. The American Medical Association has repudiated the 2016 Centers for Disease Control guidelines on prescription of opioids. Over 300 medical professionals have published a thoughtful demand that CDC rewrite the guidelines to correct horrendous outcomes in over-regulation and patient suicides. In March, the House HELP Committee heard testimony that the guidelines need to be taken totally out of the CDC and done over by NIH or the National Academies of Medicine.

Despite these commentaries we still haven’t heard a serious response from the CDC.

So now is the time for patients to add their voices and finally be heard. And by that I do not mean that we should send emails to our Congress. Emails are regularly trashed or answered with noncommittal form letters. Now it’s time to “get in their faces” by phone.

Between now and April 1st, you can prepare. Do a Google search for “contact… senator… [your State]”. Go to the two Senate websites and find their Washington DC office phone numbers. Do the same for “contact… Congressman… [your city or zip code].” And do it again for “contact… Office of the Governor… [your State].”

Starting at 0900 Eastern or local time, start calling those phone numbers. If you get a busy signal, keep calling. If you get an answering machine, then leave a message. If a staffer answers, then offer your own version of the following message in a calm tone of voice.

“Good Morning… my name is […]. I live in [town, State]. I am also a chronic pain patient [or the family member of a patient] who has been denied effective treatment with opioids that work for me. Because of DEA persecution, my doctor is scared of being investigated for over-prescribing.”

“The 2016 CDC guidelines on prescription of opioids are killing people just like me by medical collapse and suicide. The guidelines and all State regulations based on them must be immediately withdrawn for a major rewrite by different agencies. CDC is incapable of fixing them, and is refusing to make the attempt.”

“I want your boss to immediately announce their support for legislation to take treatment guidelines for pain out of the CDC. He [she] should also act to remove DEA authority to seize civil assets of doctors being investigated. I expect him or her to become a co-sponsor of this legislation. I will be watching.”

One thousand calls won’t seriously attract notice from the April fools we have elected. But perhaps one hundred thousand that leave their contact numbers swamped might. And there is another number that you can call: the chief editor of your nearest large city newspaper. Tell the editor about your effort to lobby for change on behalf of people in pain. And ask them to interview the same people you did.

Richard A Lawhern is a technically trained non-physician advocate for people in pain, with 22 years experience in patient support groups, and over 70 published papers and articles.

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Richard A Lawhern, Ph.D., is a frequent contributor to National Pain Report. He has over 22 years experience as a technically trained non-physician patient advocate, with 70+ published papers and articles in the field. He is a co-founder and former Director of Research for the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain.

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david becker

For the record-i contacted the following representatives..Gillibrand Schumer Engel Alexander and Doggett. i believe the staff of Doggett and Engel listened to my calls for eliminatong restrictions on opioids and the rest did not.
i believe we need to focus on the experts who Congress listens to from academia and medical groups. we need to focus on their lack of regard for democracy ethics and ondividualism in addition to their lack of judgment and intellectual virtue. legislators will always rely on some experts to make decisions on health issues and i have impeached the credibility of some leading experts on pain care.


Just wondering if those who want to get involved & DO something are aware of the
Don’t Punish Pain Rally Groups that are NATIONWIDE. They had their 1st rally in April 2018, and another one later in 2018. The 3rd one was held in January 2019. I don’t recall right off hand if they’ve chosen a date for the next one. (brain fog has set in). The difficulty getting people to attend is that a lot of chronic pain patients just CAN’T physically/mentally handle traveling to the locations of the rallies. I for one can’t handle a drive more than 30 minutes from my home & even that leaves me in worse pain. But I can, and did post flyers of the closest rally in stores, laundromats, wherever I could find a public bulletin board in my town & a few neighboring towns. So they try to have smaller rallies in several locations. If you want to know more, search on Facebook: Don’t Punish Pain Rally & your state ….there’s also a National Don’t Punish Pain Rally Group page on Facebook.
Or you could send a email to : Dontpunishpain@gmail.com

Nathaniel McKnight

Adele, unfortunately the day before is Sunday (Today)
It’s too important to not participate. It’s No April fool’s joke.


I hope this takes off and everyone makes these important phone calls.
I will, and I will also do it on May 1st. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!!
Thank you Red for working so hard to helping those suffering in agony from neglect by our own government.
We will be heard!!


April Fools Day is a horrible day to do something so important!
Please, the day before would be much more appropriate.

richard pell, jr.

While the Government response to the so-called “Opioid Crisis” has been lame and off target at best the only outcome will be the destruction of many “innocent and law abiding” citizens! These laws have been based on the wrong side of the problem and have all but taken my ability to live a “managed and somewhat normal” life as I have successfully been doing up until a few months ago for over 20 years thanks to Massachusetts Legislators. I no longer can do simple tasks such as make meals or take a shower without overwhelming stabbing pain and/or fearing a life threatening fall which has happened on a few occasions. I have fractured ribs and broken toes and a number of bruises to prove what living in severe chronic pain can amount to. I’ve had my share of surgeries (4) on my lower back due to a rear-en d collision I suffered at the hands of an uninsured motorist over 20 yrs. ago. I’ve had every kind of alternate therapy available including an Implantable Pulse Generator (IPG) which had no affect on even reducing my severe pain. Even worse after having the IPG installed within the next 6 months the device actually worked it’s way right through my body and became half way “ex-planted” from my upper buttock. Wires and half the device were sticking out from me until I had to again have surgery to remove the generator (IPG) along with approx. 18″ of wiring from my spinal chord! I have been there, done that and now I face life with nothing at all to even slightly reduce my chronic pain and now has fully consumed my days with only unnecessary continual suffering! Will this be the story for the rest of my life now due to these “barbaric” laws that target many more innocent than not victims? Why has this been allowed to happen?

Barbara Snow

Reading some of you all’s posts. My heart breaks for you. I can at least still move around for a few hours I’m the morning by not taking part of my meds the day before. So I can take more in the morning. I’m in a situation of being a caretaker 24/7 no time off. But at least I can still get a little bit of pain medication. I agree that it is a plan to kill off people who are costing money to keep around, by any means necessary. And to all of you who are suffering so badly, God does not want that for you or us. If your affraid that leaving this body behind is some unforgivable sin, it is not. The sin lies in the people who make us suffer when we don’t need to. I will make my calls, and keep fighting the powers that be. When you live in a Republican run state there really is no hope for change.

I’ve heard a few concerns over the date selected for the campaign on A National Day of Pain. For those who share that concern, I encourage you to call your legislators anyway. If you’re connected, then start your call with a simple phrase: “This call is not a joke or a prank. I am a chronic pain patient whose life is being destroyed by over-regulation of opioid pain relievers, and I want your legislator to help fix the mess that CDC created in 2016 with its fatally flawed guidelines on prescription.”

Be aware that a press release on this subject will be going out to over 1600 news outlets this morning.

Best Regards,


Red is right. People in pain are creating turbulence in the false and fascist narrative of the antiopioid zealots in government, insurers, and health care. Special thanks to Red for leading the way with a remarkably steadfast commitment to those millions of American being denied opioids.
I will call on April fools and agree that we need to do this and other interventions to reverse the insanity and inhumanity of the cruel careless antiopioid extremists who have hijacked the rights of so many Americans and added greatly and unjustifiably to their suffering.
Lets us remember successful movements from the past- the labor movement, womens rights movement. farmers movement, civil rights movement and the greats like Martin Luther King and Gandhi.
It will take more time and much more “blood sweat and tears” and though its an uphill climb- we wont stop cause the view is gonna be beautiful at the top.

Perhaps it’s time for us / #CPP – to Declare War on them. The CDC FDA DEA & any Government agency backing the CDC Opiate Guidelines / Law’s.

Terri James

I’m in as well! I think April fools is a perfect day; after all we are dealing with a BUNCH OF FOOLS! Something else I always do when writing, calling, what have you, I always tell them if they don’t believe me all they have to do is go to the National pain report and read the truth in the stories and the comments. We have a brilliant man in Mr. Lawhern, he is asking us to do one thing. I can’t count the number of times that we’ve all thanked him for his relentless work in trying to help us. Let’s ALL give him a PROPER THANK YOU and DO THIS. One just never knows when something might work. Before hanging up one could always say, “By the way; this is not an April Fool’s prank, I’m dead serious!

Leslie, I think you are very wrong on this date. April fools day is for Jokes and pranks. March 30th would be a good day too March forward together or anyday besides April Fools day.


How sad that Pain Patient has war declared on them. For over 20 years I have been in Pain Management, after 2 failed lower back surgeries and countless Radio Frequency treatments and countless money spent on treatments. People on this page can surely bet which treatment works the best MEDICATION. News flash to all the Doctors that may read this the Medications work far better and cheaper. Next I work as a Fleet Heavy Equipment Technician full time and not one accident on or off the job. Now if my Lower back blows out again my biggest scare is they will not be able to control my pain, if I had to live in that kind of pain, I would end my life, that is no way to live when you have to crawl on the floor. The fear of losing what I get know which is bare minimal scares the hell out of me and brings pain on more. It seem every time I find a medication that works the Government pulls it off the market or they reformulated to something that doesn’t work, for example anybody who has taken Norco in the past knows that it take double or triple the dose to relieve pain now. I don’t expect to live a long life and I don’t really what to either knowing as my condition Worsens the pain will increase I have very few options and that the sad part!


Call the LOCAL office of US Congressmen
and do it TODAY and tomorrow and next week if that’s what it takes because solutions are needed YESTERDAY.
Stop ignoring the torture of 20-million pain patients and their families THAT VOTE!

Phyllis Schofield

My mom is seventy five. She has fibermyalgia and her doctor retired because he was tired of the red tape. Pain management is a year waiting list and a new doctor doesn’t want patients who take pain medicine. My mom said she can’t take it anymore. First it was pot that was the gate way drug. Lawyers make law and doctors treat


I guess the joke was on me. hahaha. April Fools Day. Joke Joke. Day to day. Come on Big pharmacy. USA do your do diliance. Spelling is wrong. Sorry….


I received my dxed on April 1 1993 of multiple sclerosis. I knew something was wrong with me. Since then I have been dxed with severe back issues. Two major back surgeries. I also have been dxed with Sarciodosis. Stage two. I am disabled and live on SSDI. I am a young 62 female. What a life I enjoy…..pain meds help me. Family helps alot along with m.s support meetings. Thank GOD I am ambulatory. Thank-you I enjoy your efforts and writing of this website.


I agree that April Fool’s Day is a horrible date to do this!! It makes us look like FOOLS!! Let’s try s different day….maybe the day after….anything but April Fool’s Day.

Walter Strickland

Thanks for getting this set up, being a chronic pain patient for over 20 years I believe that the majority of patients and their doctors are not the problem or the cause of this so called crisis.I believe this, the powers that be can not stop the people who sell and or take illegal drugs from not stopping using these illeagl drugs so is much easier task to blame this so called crisis on people that are traceable as we are easier targets for them.Shame on the CDC and their chronies for doing this to honest people who happen to have conditions that requires us to need these meds for relief of persistent pain that knows no end, never stops ,best relief I and many others have found to be the leagal meds prescribed to us by pain specialist / not pollititions.

I think we need to be alot more forceful than that. That sounds as though we would like them to buy a gs cookie. We need to say this is leatal within weeks. For many it is . Even he or she is going ro die but as it stands now they could suffer needless years as we have. This has not been colateral. They know exactly what they are doing.


April’s Fool Day is the perfect day for this. LOGIC 101
If you start with a wrong theory/idea/statement you cannot get a right answer.
The basis here is that the Senator’s/Gov don’t know what they’re doing to CPP’s & have the ability to change State Laws.
This is blatantly false.
1) they are aware street drugs are the problem
2) the POTUS is behind this idea & supports the DEA continuing to cut back the amount of opioids produced in the US, based on consumption statistics. And the false basis that pain meds therefore aren’t needed.
3) the POTUS is following the plan put in motion in 1994.
It was designed for exactly the outcome they’re getting.
It’s foolish to believe they WANT change when this is exactly what they want & PLANNED.
I’ve tried to explain this repeatedly. It’s a public document ANYONE can read. You can start on Wikipedia, for Fool’s sake!!!!! The references lead to more info. This is about population reduction, CPP’s & addicts are 1st. Hitler started with disabled & gypsies.
There’s OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS! From pharma co’s, the medical establishment (most aren’t on board, but those in places of POWER are). More than anything, it’s PUBLICLY & PLAINLY STATED BY THE GOV
“DEPOPULATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY” in the G8 countries & the US is leading. If they have a deadline, THEY DO, who are they getting rid of?????”.
Common sense plus piles of documentation from CDC, DSM-5 ( medical & insurance sectors), DEA, THE POTUS, pharma, & FDA have DIRECT INVOLVEMENT.
* I suffer & have lost 2 friends. I’ve been persecuted by every sector. My voice isn’t heard any more than yours will be.
Peace&love to all CPP’s.

Walter Strickland

Thanks for organizing this for us. We are being treated the same wat honest and legal gun owners are in the war on Guns, they cannot stop the unlawful use so they go after easier targets like us because they can control us because we follow thelaw. Criminals and drug addicts don’t follow the law and it’s obvious that the government cannot stop these folks so they come after us.

It will take a concerted effort of the nation’s chronic pain patients, their families, their medical providers, and more to get the attention of politicians across the U.S. If we all had money to pay for their time, then we would get the attention this issue deserves, because that’s how the lobbyists and PAC’s get things done. I have written letters to the Oregon Medical Board, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, and many others with no response. They don’t care. They do what they want, when they want, regardless of the impacts on citizens’ lives and health. Given the actions by many of the local medical providers in Douglas County, Oregon, I started a blog earlier this year describing many of their actions and inactions and discriminatory patterns of practice. You can find it at https://doctor-george.net/category/blog/


I’m going to do my best to make all the calls, although I can relate to what Thomas Kidd said. If my pain is at a “10” it sometimes makes it hard to even make a phone call. But hopefully I won’t do anything to cause additional pain over the weekend so I’m at my best “8” on Monday, April 1st. My life may not have been a picnic when I was on my pre-CDC Guidelines meds, but at least I was able to go hear a band a few times a year and didn’t live my entire life in bed, only getting out of the house for doctor appoints that leave me crying for 3-4 days afterward. I’m in!

Leslie Meadows

VICKI, you are incorrect,most ppl these days don’t know about April Fools Day! It will be fine any day we choose,try to be positive.I know it’s hard but we all need to try 🤗

Leslie Meadows

One person who has been in our corner is ‘Greg Gutfeld’ he is on ‘The Five’ on Fox. He always talks about how the government needs to stay out of our healthcare and how ppl with chronic pain are being pushed around and not being able to get the pain relief they need from doctors of their choice. He also has his own show on the weekends. He is an ally. I am going to send him an e-mail and see if he can announce this April 1st day for Pain I will forward this column also. I would urge others to contact anyone else who has clout to help us in this endeavor. 👍

dis may

I admire your work, Mr. Lawhern,
And I have a pain story that has not been heard yet. My circumstances, while not unique, are specific to a group of people other than myself. I am a natural redhead. I have more pain than brunettes do. I have actually gone into shock from pain. I lost my hearing, and then I lost my eyesight, and then I lost my consciousness. Upon regaining consciousness,, attended by a nurse, she said ‘You had a little shocking.” Easy for her to say!! It was more than “a little” from my perspective. The chief resident’s curiosity and over attention to the examination of my infection put me into shock. He RAN out of the room when the pain spiked so severely I shot bolt upright with every intention of tearing his throat out with my teeth. That is how badly he hurt me. Needlessly.
My pain is also not responsive to medications designed for brunettes and blonds. My dermatologist gives me THREE TIMES THE INJECTIONS SHE GIVES NORMAL PATIENTS. Only dermatology, dentistry and anesthesiology experience the problems with redheads consistently enough to research it. Existing research under-reports the problems. It needs a great deal more study.
I have two other uncommon features. 1. I have ulcerative colitis. I cannot take OTC medication. 2. I am the survivor of severe early childhood abuse and neglect. Stephen Suomi heads up a 240 acre NIH lab to study primates & showed that when they don’t get good parental care GENETIC EXPRESSION OF IMMUNE FUNCTION AND INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE is THE OPPOSITE of those that do. At least 30% of Americans have this issue. The ACE study shows this.Few parents tell their children they are abused and neglected. As adults they do not recognize their vulnerability.
A great many people are not getting the care and recognition they deserve.


Finally we have some concrete steps to take! A joining of voices at one time, from all over the country, to the people who need to hear it the most. Let them know that chronic pain patients vote. Thank you Dr. Lawhern. I encourage everyone who has ever commented on this blog to make these calls. If you have an opportunity to attend a townhall meeting stand up or speak up, half the people in the audience will be glad you did.

Gail Honadle

When they come out with the final Rules, they will be just that recommendations. The other issue is what the STATES passed Oregon and Tennessee passed some of the most Draconian Prescription laws in the US. We lack higher educated doctors, sub specialist in Pediatric Neurology. 200 Pain Clinics closed in 1 day. We have 65 left. Many are putting off surgeries they need, but can’t take more pain. With FMS my pain level is elevated to begin with. Oral Surgery that requires Sedation, Antibiotics, and only 2 days of 7.5 NORCO is like 1.5 days because of the FMS. I’m in level 10 pain now and you want me to go through another Level 10 pain from Oral surgery. That 4.25 square in Ice Pack will NOT fit in a human mouth even unfrozen.

Gail Honadle

Even Cancer patient have a hard time getting enough pain relief. Many of the suggestions don’t take into account many of us are Multiple Health Complex Patients. As a Cardio/Gastro what I can take is Limited, I’m limited to Tylenol only otherwise Bleeding Ulcers can become the next health issue. Don’t control the Pain you drive up my Blood Pressure into Heart Attack range, or it could blow the Enlarged Heart or Mitral Valve. We are not easy to treat, we are not simple and no allowance was made for us, or a surgery that might be needed and the pain controlled so you don’t have a Heart Attack.

Rosalind Rivera

As a chronic pain sufferer, it is greatly up to us to follow these incentives and recommendations in order to bring about change, drastic change in the way that we are being undertreated by our doctors, pain management specialists. I for one knows how reluctantly my own doctor has been in terms of reducing the amounts and dosages of my pain medications. As a direct result of this I am now confined to my bed for the better part of my days. No longer can I buy groceries or even pick up my three year old granddaughter. Stop the abuse of condemning pain patients to a life strifes with misery!

Get real, every Holiday America has is being hijacked for something else. Our culture is being slowly but surely taken over. Stop this bull manure. Choose a day that is not already taken. Please ,April fools day what a dang joke. We will be laughed at.All the other info is great and we need to use it, let’s use it wisely. You will be taken as a joke too use this day to come together and make a difference. Just my opinion

Thanks for helping spread the word! FYI all, there is a related bit of good news: A major article is now in review with a major US blog, debunking the silly notion that physician over-prescribing caused our opioid crisis.

Gail Honadle

When they made these Idiot laws they neglected to account for the effect on patients, Cardio, Gastro, PAIN KILLS as it drives your damaged heart into a Heart Attack, your Osteoarthritis drug Ruined Gastro tract can’t tolerate Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories OTC or scripts it means Bleeding Ulcers to deal with which can also KILL if not caught in time. Reflux or GERD can cause a Precancer called Barrett’s Esophagus if not treated. So any food, or med that causes Reflux is to be avoided if you can.

James McCay

I’m all for everything you said. But what do you do if you are a 16-year Chronic Intractable Pain patient in NYC/NY State which has had the WORST HEALTH CARE (and politicians) for several years now in any of the five states I’ve lived in during my life?

I’ve written ALL of my politicians already regarding the BROKEN “War On Opioids” and the BROKEN Health Care System (especially Medicaid) in NYC/NY State and I never get any replies other than MAYBE pre-typed email generic responses that never go anywhere? I’ve never once received a written response to letters I’ve sent to my Assembly People all the way up to Senators! THEY JUST DON’T CARE IN NYC/NY STATE!

I know how to fight better than most, as I was a medical professional for 16-years before I was stricken with (3) different Neuromuscular diseases (and two are autoimmune diseases as well), plus I have Hyperthymusism that almost no doctor in any specialty knows what that is in NYC! My XXL Thymus Gland (not a tumor) is very hyperactive and blocks all medications from working right or at all the instant it hits my bloodstream (even IV Dilaudid/Morphine injections) and includes all kinds of medications from OTC to Dilaudid. So my severe-excruciating widespread pain & fatigue is NEVER “CONTROLLED” by any means. I’m legally homebound and mostly bedridden. I have no family and no friends who will help me. So I spend most of the time I can get out of bed just taking care of basics in taking care of myself. Honestly I PREFER it this way, because the only Health Care Aides left in NYC are USELESS, lazy, and dumb.

I’d leave NYC in a heartbeat if I had any way to do so, but I do not! I’ve had Advanced General Myasthenia Gravis since 2009 with the very strong Hyperthymusism. So I never have strength to do anything anymore. NYC’s healthcare only became terrible soon after 2009 (thanks to Obama on down to our AWFUL Mayor “THIEF” Di Blasio!). I never leave home other than my monthly Pain Management visit (CDC DUMB Rule).

Barbara Snow

I’m in.

Hari seldon

Hi Red,
What happens when Congress receives the task force report in April? Does the report become law? Will the medical industry be bound by whatever Congress decides? Thanks for all your help in informing the public of the duplicity of both Big Pharma and Bug Medicine.

Edward Artman

Thomas Kidd

Thank Red! This is a great idea but many of us cannot make plans past one day because we could be so much pain that we cannot function enough to make such phone calls. I am praying that I am able to do this on April 1st. Keep up the great work. Thanks for your input.