What Can a Trump Presidency Mean to Chronic Pain?

What Can a Trump Presidency Mean to Chronic Pain?

By Ed Coghlan

While the nation continues to reel from last Tuesday’s surprising election, the National Pain Report wonders what a Trump Presidency can mean for the chronic pain community – a community that numbers 100-million Americans.

The issue of chronic pain wasn’t discussed much in the recent presidential campaign – in fact not much anything of substance was discussed in the Clinton Trump duel.

Mrs. Clinton certainly had as one of her talking points, the problems being caused by the “opioid epidemic”, which was an extension of the commentary driven by the Obama Administration’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

But other than generally pointing out the need to take better care of our veterans (which they talk about every election year), the issue of chronic pain was barely uttered. Not one mention of the National Pain Strategy (NPS) was heard.

By the way, a spokesperson for the National Institutes of Health indicated to the National Pain Report recently that the NPS organizing is about done. All of the members of the key Workgroups in the six sections will be federal stakeholders including nine federal agencies.

The spokesperson added that patient advocacy organizations that have expressed an interest in participating will be able to but that the process will be driven by the federal government.

So what does a Trump Administration think about this effort and the treatment of chronic pain generally?

While it’s way too early to tell, Trump has run a campaign that promises less government interference.

Some key questions have surfaced.

Does a “less government” Trump Administration mean that momentum for the NPS will slow (if you can call the last eight months momentum)?

Does it mean the emphasis on reducing opioid prescription might be lessened?

Does it mean that the government health agencies will be less likely to promote research into the causes and treatment of pain? (I know, they haven’t really been doing all that much)

Do more states approving the recreational and medical use of marijuana mean that the federal government resistance to reclassifying marijuana will lessen?

If Obamacare is going to be rolled back, is that good or bad for the chronic pain patient and those who treat them?

Fair questions, we think, but certainly no answers are evident yet.

What is true during the last year or so, is that the chronic pain community has been frantic about federally mandated changes in treatment.

And while great frustration exists, we’ve seen some progress.

The U.S. Pain Foundation launched its People with Pain Matter campaign and has become markedly more visible in trying to make sure the patients’ needs are being heard.

RSDSA has ignited an interest in developing a reference protocol using ketamine to treat CRPS. A meeting in Chicago recently has sparked real hope that data can be developed to improve how CRPS is identified and treated.

And a group of patients impatient with the lack of progress held a rally – a thus far largely symbolic but nonetheless important event that brought attention to chronic pain patients who believe they are not getting the treatment they deserve.

So what about a Trump Administration?

How will it view chronic pain?

We can hope it will be on their radar.

It should be.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Bruce at 4:26 pm

    Oh man I had to leave Florida because of Pam Bondi – nobody would fill my prescription down there!! DEA govt swine!!
    Of course, ‘cleaning up the drug problem’ is always wildly popular for winning votes. Drug-addicted swine stealing our painkillers! I used to abuse alcohol so I know what it’s like. Now I under-medicate if anything..

  2. Melody Keen at 10:31 am

    When campaigning in MA Trump said he for limiting access to opiates.

  3. Tim Mason at 3:08 am

    Perhaps someone could appoint a Pain Czar. Someone that could intelligently differentiate groups of people that consume pain medications.
    This Czar would also stop the misinformation put out in all media formats. Such information would eliminated that a single dose of pain medication is a greased pole to heroin.
    I would like to see a gray headed surgeon general appointed that has experience in medicine.
    I am hoping for some intelligence for a change.
    i.e. The people that play Russian roulette with morphine cut with fentanyl are not people like you and I that struggle to make it thru the day with less pain.

  4. Jean Price at 2:16 pm

    Solely based on references to the generosity and compassion he has shown various individuals in need over the years, I would hope he would also lend a compassionate ear and dig through all the nonsense—if he could hear some stories of people whose lives are now so limited by pain and the current non-treatment with opioids. Guess we’ll have to see, after the approach is made…maybe later than sooner though, since he will likely have his hands full with the civil unrest in general that’s already happening….and we might not have any advantage if we were to chose to add to immediately…that is, unless more monsters are unleashed on us!! We keep hoping and praying…and like the article says, his tendency to not support big government may end up giving us and our doctors the responsibility for our own treatment plans again! Then the goal will be to find doctors that aren’t tainted or profiting!! That is going to be still be difficult, I’m thinking…unless they were just playing along with government to make their lives easier. Much to hope about, much to consider, and as always… much to do in directing a concerted effort and unified front from all of us, to impact healthy changes in pain care.

  5. Bruce at 1:42 pm

    Paul Ryan is as good as gone. No way Trump’s going to allow for the privatisation of social security, etc. Why do you think that Ryan tried to sabotage Trump at every turn? He’s done. Trump is too liberal for all that.

  6. Pharmacist Steve at 11:44 am

    IMO.. there is one “bad apple” in the Trump administration and that is VP Pence… he has been Governor of Indiana and along with his AG Greg Zoeller. Indiana has been a “epidemic mess” … NUMBER ONE in pharmacy robberies for several years… at the top of Meth lab busts and they don’t even talk about the use/abuse/deaths from Heroin numbers… and there is talk of Trump wanting Pam Bondi for AG/DOJ head… many/most of us know what she did to the chronic pain community as the AG in Florida. On the good side,,, AG Loretta Lynch, DEA Rosenberger, and head of CDC will be gone after Trump takes office.

  7. Angel at 10:56 am

    I’m a small government libertarian, a catholic, and a pain patient. I’m praying that our president elect focuses on doing away with the burdensome regulations our prescribers face. I’m extremely worried for the future for those of us living in chronic pain. Recently my pharmacy of 12 years (Safeway) was bought out by Albertsons and now are refusing to fill my doctors prescriptions. I’ve lived in chronic pain for over half of my 35 years. I’ve been having my pain treated daily for 23 years. I’ve watched pain management morph into some gigantic over regulated behemoth that punishes people in pain and their providers. I’ve complied with all the burdensome and expensive requirements they’ve added I’ve played by all the rules. Now I find myself being again punished, discriminated against and potentially without medication due to a government created climate of fear and blame. I’m scared for my future and praying for us all.

  8. Tracy at 10:43 am

    This might be a little off topic .Did the CDC tell pain management doc not to test for cannabis? And if they did does that mean anything for plp with chronic pain?

  9. Dave at 10:13 am

    I don’t think a Trump administration is good for people who wish to have access to opioids. I think he will equate opioid use with addiction and crime.
    As he is big on market fundamentalism and big business, I think people in pain need to play the medical consumerism card and that they want good pain care so they can get jobs or better jobs. The economic aspects of pain are probably going to be the dominant focus. If people in pain can play their cards right and convince the Donald that good research and good pain care will lower costs and mean more people working- I think he might make some improvements.
    I think he may make it easier for drug companies and device manufacturers to bring new pain treatments on the market.
    It is also possible, he may take no real interest in pain care other than the opioid issue.
    Ultimately its up to people in pain to focus on what they can do to improve pain care in this country and try to advocate for the best vision and plan to improve pain care.

  10. CathyM at 9:27 am

    I see much less coverage of the chronic pain issue, as many issues become critical in the massive reversal of government. It’s possible they will stop the push against doctors, but it’s more probable that Trump’s comments about “drug dealers” will empower the DEA (which seems to be running its own fiefdom) to be even more intrusive. Gutting Obamacare and privatizing Medicare (both mentioned immediately by Ryan) will be a nightmare, and I’m not at all confident that the states’ laws okaying marijuana will be allowed to stay (no matter what the Repubs say about small government and states’ rights, that only seems to apply to laws they don’t like – from past history, anyway). I’m very worried on many fronts and have increased my efforts to find lesser meds and/or natural tools to handle my pain. But I’ll continue to speak out and keep chronic pain in the awareness of those around me and where I can reach by my writing.

  11. Bruce at 7:01 am

    How could it be any worse. Every month i go into the pain clinic they’re haranguing me about cutting back my medication. Without fail. I finally said that i wasn’t going to listen to it, stood up and told them to write the prescriptions because I wasn’t sitting down again. I guess they didn’t like 6’3″ hovering over them. Now they know how it feels-