The Don’t Punish Pain Rally Organization has scheduled another series of rallies across the country. This will be the fifth rally it has sponsored. The goal to drive awareness of issues facing the chronic pain community, notably the access to opioid medications.
The next date for the rallies is October 16th, 2019.
“We are making progress, albeit slowly,” said Claudia Merandi, a Rhode Island woman who organized the group with the goal of creating more media attention to what she calls “the other side of the opioid story—the fact that many patients use them responsibly and need them.”
The rallies are an opportunity to educate the media and by extension the elected leaders about the crisis facing chronic pain patients.
Merandi says her group has been mobilizing more doctors to speak out.
“Working with doctors who have been terrorized by the DEA is a major part of the pain patient equation. When the DEA seizes doctors’ assets, there’s a whole lot of money to be made and that is the root of the pain community’s problem,” she said.
Merandi believes the only way to fix this problem is with the Congressional hearing looking into the behavior of the DEA and also having the Controlled Substances Act amended. She says her team has been growing and their efforts are helping convince more elected leaders to listen.
But when asked why more progress wasn’t be made, she said, “Too many political leaders consider coming out for a more reasonable approach to opioid prescribing as political suicide.”
Merandi has introduced legislation in her native Rhode Island Legislature that would protect chronic intractable pain patients. They’ll try to get the Senate to pass it next year after getting House approval this year.
Merandi’s Rally Talk show with Claudia is starting to develop an audience. She interviews doctors, lawmakers, lobbyists, in an attempt to combat the pain patient suffering.
Merandi believes that the efforts of her group and others in the pain community are getting the pain story out, although slower than most would like.
Public rallies, information sessions for legislators such as occurred in California last week, and working to increase media coverage generally to inform the public about chronic pain issues are critical to educating people who can help chronic pain advocates change the narrative.