By Ed Coghlan
It looks like January 28 is the next important date in the Centers for Disease Control and its Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.
The deadline for public comment expired on Wednesday (4,012 comments were received).
That’s when a workgroup will present its observations to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC).
The workgroup was formed at the public conference call on January 7 to review the draft guideline and comments received on the guideline, and present observations about the guideline to the BSC.
The CDC anticipates the workgroup will present its observations in a report to the BSC at a January 28, 2016 public meeting. There will be 90 minutes allotted for public comment during this meeting. A Federal Register Notice published on Monday about this meeting and it included specific instructions on how to pre register to share public comment either in person or by phone.
After the BSC has considered the workgroup’s observations and makes a recommendation, CDC will review the public comments and BSC recommendation, revise the document, and submit it for CDC scientific clearance.
A CDC spokesperson told the National Pain Report, “We do not have a publication date at this time. The guideline is a priority for our agency. Given the lives lost and impacted every day, we have an acute sense of urgency to issue guidance quickly.”
The CDC reports that health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in 2012 and that prescription opioid sales in the U.S. have increased 300% even thought, according to the agency, there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.
It’s the abuse of opioids that has been driving the CDC offensive. Its website says that almost 2-million Americans, age 12 or older, either abused or were dependent on opioid pain relievers in 2013 (the last year the data were available.)
Pain advocates have been very critical of the CDC process, believing that chronic pain patients have not been represented in the development of the policy and that the assumption that addiction is the biggest issue have prejudiced the process.
They argue that legitimate use of opioids for pain relief is being compromised.
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