By Ed Coghlan
At the National Pain Report, we often leave the opinion making to folks who are advocates for any number of issues. And it’s our position to allow those varying points of view on our site—it’s part of our mission.
We will exercise our privilege to expressing our own opinion by saying, you should sign this petition to fund the National Pain Strategy (NPS). The deadline is Friday August 12.
While the debate about chronic pain treatment has been dominated this year by the CDC and its Opioid Prescribing Guideline, it is in truth a small part of the chronic pain treatment story. The much –or at least more important–issue should be how the government can implement the country’s first strategic plan to achieve a system of safe, effective and high-quality pain care informed by science.
We have been frustrated by the inaction by the National Institutes of Health on the NPS since it was introduced with very little fanfare by the National Institutes of Health. If research, healthcare provider training, insurance coverage issues and public awareness of pain are going to be addressed, the NPS is, quite simply, the best vehicle for a comprehensive approach.
The petition which is supported by most pain advocacy organizations directs the Obama Administration to direct the Health and Human Services agency to swiftly fund and implement the NPS.
Developed by a diverse team of experts from around the nation, the National Pain Strategy is a roadmap toward achieving a system of care in which all people receive appropriate, high quality and evidence-based care for pain.
It was released on Friday March 18th.
It is axiomatic in the communications business that the day to announce bad news or to bury something is a Friday.
Several months ago, I spoke with Dr. Sean Mackey of Stanford University about the NPS. He was an influential voice in crafting the NPS. I told him that the biggest threat to it was not its scope or its emphasis, but its complexity. It had, I told him, “the potential to sit on a shelf and collect dust.”
I may have been wrong. The biggest threat to an implementation seems to be indifference.
If the actions—or should I say inactions—by the government since March 18 are any indication, the NPS has a chance to be just as I predicted. A lot of noise and no action.
We would argue that the government should get use the NPS to stimulate a real debate about chronic pain and find solutions to the education, research and treatment issues that plague millions of Americans.
Sign the petition.