By Ed Coghlan.
Led by noted Stanford Pain Psychologist Beth Darnall, professionals and clinicians of all disciplines and backgrounds who treat or represent individuals with pain are being urged to sign a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services.
The letter requests that the government caution against forced opioid tapering. Dr. Darnall testified in Oregon last week, criticizing that state’s plan to force taper the state’s Medicaid population from opioids. She and other health professionals have been telling Oregon officials in the past several months that the policy is wrong headed.
She has been promoting the idea on Twitter this weekend and asks that the letter be signed by the end of the day Monday. It has been receiving brisk response.
On Tuesday, the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force will convene in Washington, D.C. The Task Force will receive presentations from three Task Force subcommittees established at the inaugural Task Force meeting. They will discuss recommendations for updates to best practices and recommendations for chronic and acute pain management and prescribing pain medication. The Task Force will also deliberate and vote on the draft Task Force recommendations.
Pain Advocate Richard “Red” Lawhern is scheduled to testify during the 30 minute public comment period on Tuesday morning.
He shared his comments with members of his Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain over the weekend.
Among several points he plans to make, he will point out to the Task Force the following:
“Large scale studies also show that risk of abuse or chronic prescribing among post-surgical patients prescribed opioids is 0.6% or less. Yet prevailing public policy seeks to “save” this small minority by restricting pain treatment to 99.4% of patients.”
If you would like to hear the meeting live, you can go this website.
The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The Task Force will meet for two days.
By the way, an article in the October issue of Scientific American addresses the tapering issue – arguing that people can safely taper off opioids but it should done voluntarily and under medical supervision – not by governmental edict.
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