Montana has been called—less than charitably—a pain desert. Chronic pain patients—as in the case in many rural states—have been disproportionately “under treated” due to a crackdown on opioid prescribing fueled by the federal agency (notably the DEA) attention and corresponding statewide enforcement on doctors by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners.
That’s why a meeting in the state capital of Helena this week caught our attention.
Two chronic pain advocates–Rhonda Hedalen and Gary Snook are looking for Montana chronic pain patients to show support at the SUD (Substance Use Disorder) Strategic Taskforce Meeting.
As Hedalen said, “We have been invited to speak this Wednesday. They would like to hear from chronic pain patients and the hardship we are now facing due to the so-called opioid crisis. I think this is a huge step for us. People are starting to listen.”
These two advocates are representing the Montana Don’t Punish Pain Rally—part of a national movement that is trying to make the case for chronic pain patients who are being denied treatment.
Say Hedalen, “You do not have to stay for the entire meeting but it is very important that we need to have people there to show support for the chronic pain patients here in Montana. The panel begins at 11 a.m.”
Snook has been an important voice for Montana chronic pain patients for many years.
He and Hedalen will be joined on the panel by Kristin Page-Nei, the Montana Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society and Cancer Action Network, Inc.
The meeting begins at 10 a.m. (mountain daylight time) at Delta Hotel by Marriott in Helena.
If you attend, please leave your impressions in the commentary section of the National Pain Report. We will follow this story closely.
SUD is a task force of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.