Another series of Don’t Punish Pain Rallies were held across the country on Wednesday (May 22nd). The idea has been to draw attention—particularly media attention—to the impact of the opioid controversy on chronic pain patients and others who use opioid medication responsibly.
It is a new civil-rights issue,” said Claudia Merandi of Rhode Island who started the DPPR movement. “When you take away a person’s right to live a humane life, what else would it be?”
On Wednesday over 40 rallies were held—and many local media covered them.
This is the latest evidence that the media are starting to tell the opioid story more frequently from the chronic pain patient point of view—a trend that has been aided by federal government agencies, notably the Centers for Disease Control, and others including the American Medical Association declaring that the “Opioid Crackdown” was hurting chronic pain patients.
Merandi quoted a doctor from Pennsylvania who told her recently, “When the government practices medicine, bad things happen.”
In other news, in Oklahoma, pain patients are celebrating the signing of Senate Bill 848 this week, which is a patient’s bill of rights which civil rights attorney Kate Nicholson says “reversing some of the most egregious one-size-fits-all policies on prescribing.
It’s a reminder that the action for change needs to happen at the state level.
As one pain leader said recently, “There’s not really a national pain policy, there are fifty state policies that must be influenced meaning that legislators, medical boards and Attorneys General are the one who must see the light.”
The National Pain Report has been devoting some coverage to the importance of local and state advocacy. Just this week, Mary Cremer of Missouri recounted how she and other chronic pain patients have organized to get their point across. (Read here)
Also, there are times where national leaders can help the local advocacy efforts as witnessed in Oregon where local and national pressure caused the Oregon Health Authority to roll back mandatory tapering guidelines on back and neck pain. (Read here)