California Pain Poll Shows Dramatic Results

California Pain Poll Shows Dramatic Results

By Ed Coghlan.

As the California Pain Strategy Summit gathers on Friday November 2, chronic pain patients have explicitly stated what they think the almost 100 of California chronic pain providers, advocates, insurers and representatives of state elected officials should be thinking about.

The National Pain Report worked with Summit creator Cynthia Toussaint, who runs For Grace a Los Angeles non-profit that explores issues around women’s health and came up with five questions that we promoted this week. The survey attracted over 1200 responses in less than a day.

Here’s the story on the survey.

“We will use the input from the chronic pain community to help guide our conversation on what can be done to make sure pain patients are being heard,” said Toussaint.

So what did chronic patients say were the five most important issues that any pain strategy should address?

  • 82% said that unrestricted access, through a licensed physician, to type and dosage of pain management medications should be available to all patients.
  • 67% believe that all people should have full and equal access to pain management regardless of genera, race, socio-economic status.
  • 64% believed that education matters and that all medical schools should have curricula dedicated to pain management and chronic pain diseases.
  • 60% believe that complementary health strategies for management of chronic pain, like acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, are covered by private and public health insurance.
  • Over half (53%) believe that an awareness campaign that educates and others about chronic pain and its impact on lives should be launched.

While understandably access to pain medication ranks highest among the concerns of pain patients, it is worth noting that access and education score very highly.

The National Pain Strategy which was approved in 2016 but has not yet been fully implemented has the following priorities:

More specifically, the Strategy calls for:

  • Developing methods and metrics to monitor and improve the prevention and management of pain.
  • Supporting the development of a system of patient-centered integrated pain management practices based on a biopsychosocial model of care that enables providers and patients to access the full spectrum of pain treatment options.
  • Taking steps to reduce barriers to pain care and improve the quality of pain care for vulnerable, stigmatized and underserved populations.
  • Increasing public awareness of pain, increasing patient knowledge of treatment options and risks, and helping to develop a better-informed health care workforce about pain management.

The results of our poll and the National Pain Strategy don’t look much different do they?

Follow on Twitter (and we really mean it):



Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

newest oldest
Notify of

I have been w/o meds, for now, 2+ yrs. Was on 75 mcg Duragesic for 15 years then Aetna refused to pay any more. So switched to 90 my methadone which was cut after every procedure. Moved to Virginia taking 30mg methadone a day and after 1 month could not find a doctor to order any pain meds. I needed to go back to 90 mg a day but found myself without any doctor not any meds. It’s been hell ever since.


What can I say? I live in intractable pain. Currently untreated after two years of pain management. I was dropped..why???.Because I did not want anymore useless painful procedures in order to get a low dose opioid prescription. Opioids give me mobility, life with my family….but no instead I am treated less than an animal and suffer in 24/7 pain. Humanity has taken a turn to the wide path that leads straight to Hell..


Sad when people who do NOT have chronic incurable pain no matter the methods due to genetic disease or acquired disease think they are above and talk as if they are saviors. No amount of above methods is going to take away severe bone swelling for a late stage Lyme patient. No amount of above methods is going to take away the pain from an Ehlers Danlos patient dislocating bones from a bare minimal movement. The disabled in this country from severe chronic pain still are being punished for those that have abused their medicine, but mainly from those who are taking illegally brought into the country heroine and fentanyl.
Did the people at this summit get true numbers on alcohol deaths a year? What about the alcohol problem where children are taught that imbibing is synonymous with sports and ‘having a good time’ in life? These Californians and other politicians choose to put their head in the sand. Is alcohol necessary for a person to live who has chronic pain problems? Yes probably will be and probably will be even more deaths from alcohol.
Pompous idiots, seriously, there should be major guilt they feel and concern for their own future welfare should they contract Lyme or have other major event where THEY need pain relief and only an opiod could help.

I’m going to repeat this question. How are medication reductions justified for patients with degenerative conditions??? This makes absolutely no sense to me.
We know that eyesight typically worsens as we age. What if non-medical folks with 20/20 vision were suddenly allowed to regulate the prescriptions of Optometrists? “I realize that your night vision is declining, but I think the eyeglasses you’re wearing are already too strong. Even though l know absolutely nothing about you, it’s my job to reduce the number of people who wear glasses. I guess you won’t be watching TV or driving anymore - suck it up buttercup!”


These “summits” and workshops sound really nice but do nothing. It’s common sense what pain patients want and need. You do not need to take a poll to know people are having their meds cut. My quality of life has deteriorated since my meds were cut off from me completely. I was forced to move, had to find new docs and after the birth of my daughter they refused to prescribe them anymore. She is 1 and if I were on meds I could handle life. Instead every day I wish I was dead so taking care of the love and joy of my life wouldn’t feel so unfathomable and horrible.

They made the doctors feel afraid and now we will never be given the proper dosages we all need — or any dosage for that matter.

All the get together in the world won’t change that now.

Hurting now

Heard a young man going to college the other day. Interested in pain management . The schools response they told him to reconsider you don’t wanna deal with those people . We all need to get a grip and approach this more professionally.. I’m there too. I’ve done and said things I’m not to proud of but . Trying to communicate better.

Hurting now

20 yr honest and straight forward pain patient. Never abused the system. In order to control a patient on meds you have to urine test for the meds in their system . This is a must. Their would be no opiate crisis. (Really tired of hearing that ) say you give a patient zanex say their low income if they get excess meds and have a teen they think selling them for money . If it’s not in their system you stop giving it as a Dr. Say you do everything right then cbd becomes legal to .3 percent thc. Your Dr now won’t see you but. now sells cbd and you must buy from the Dr. Nope. This is not right !

Deb McFadden

I’m just wondering how many people will be going to Mexican pharmacies to buy their pain medication now. Especially since both the DEA and the Ca. Medical board are increasing the pressure on doctors in California. I wonder if they feel that buying the pain relievers in the streets or from the pharmacies in Mexico is preferable to allowing doctors to treat their patients! If they’re going to push placebos on us at least let’s keep it the one’s that don’t include needles (AKA quackupuncture!) Trump wanted to reduce the number of people who are on SSDI/SSI and I guess that forced suicides is their answer to the age old conundrum that the Nazi’s faced with the “Lebensunwertes Leben” or life unworthy of life, as we clearly are under the Trump administration! You know like Sessions says “take an aspirin and tough it out” because he’s going to harrasse and jail any doctors guilty of treating your pain like Dr. Tennant!

This is so sad to see some many chronic pain people who cant get the meds they need .i myself suffer bad with chronic pain my meds just got cut in half i can barley get out of bed .i have so many health problems along with my wife .i feel so bad for her cause she screams in pain daily but no one cares not even these people .no one listens to chronic pain people why cause they think we are all junkies who dont need it .they blame the pills on the problem but its not its the st drugs. Doctors are not evening writing scripts no more because they are scared . so how is it the pills that are causeing the problem its not .we are being punished because of what other people are doing


Bob Shubring,
Dr Tennant never condoned the use of cannibis theapry with his pain program. He is against the use of cannibis until one day research hails better patient outcomes through its use. He never offered any sort of cannibis at his clinic. In fact, he warned patients not to ever use it, that he did not support its use, and he would not treat you if you failed a drug screen


Looking forward to seeing if this makes a difference in any way.
Time will tell.
I’m not going to hold my breath though.
So much disappointment over the years as it is.


I got my painkillers cut back a couple of months ago. They will NEVER restore us to full levels. I have neuropathy and I was lucky to get 60% relief even when taking the full amount. If the doctors are forever concerned about getting their licenses revoked, what type of approach could possibly tip the scales to the patient’s favor? Honestly, I deal with physician’s assistants at the clinic I go to, and they’re just spouting the company line. And most of them aren’t that bright. Half of them look like they would have trouble holding down a job in retail. They didn’t even bother asking me how I’m doing since they cut me down, only what procedures they could get me to do. They actually said I needed an MRI on my arthritic ankle. I laughed at them and told them to forget it. I already owe $2,000+ for unnecessary procedures this year. We’re trapped, and nothing is happening to help us. God help me if they take another 25% of my meds away. I’m already in trouble.

Melissa Smith

Thank you for the update, I deal with Chronic pain everyday of my life, stressing over management of that pain makes it worse.

Drucella Williams

I’m so thankful for how you support the pain community. Gathering this much needed information for one of the most important Pain management meetings that has occurred to date! The medical community getting together from all areas of our country, combined with other agencies involved in this nightmare of patients in pain. This was and is a chance for pain patient’s to have a real voice in their future of having their hoŕrible pain mangled, to bring an end to our suffering. California is my state, I’ve been treated at Stanford University hospital, they are amazing! I’m choosing to be optimistic about what will come out of this meeting! Thanks to all involved in caring about us, those who have paid a high price in this opioid crises that have felt ignored and forgotten…….


More people die from alcohol than from this so called epidemic. Heroin use went up when the USA went into Afghanistan the world’s largest grower of poppy plants.i know soldiers that saw huge warehouses full of bales of raw opium being guarded by American troops


There going kull us all one by one.


What is the Difference? An “Educated Chronic Pain, Pain Management “Specialist”” VS. MD, Doctor, Anesthesiologist, Physiatrist, ect., claiming to be a speciaIist?
The “Dr/PT Relationship” commitment to improve my Quality of Life. Level of communication. Patient expectation of being prepared for my Appt.(actual face to face time) a standard each patient received 45 minutes every Appt.
Focused communication back and forth providing detailed information about my condition, furthermore, actually coming away armed with more tools & being taught new information about CP.
Treated with respect, believing this Specialist is knowledgable, has the education & is in it with and for you to win it! Teamwork makes Quality of Life happen!

It is DEPLORABLE, STATES DO NOT REQUIRE SPECIALIZED EDUCATION, for a specialized field of Treatment or Pain Management. Reminds me of a surgery, my PM doctor referred me to a specific surgeon for a specific implantaion surgery. Turned out & the surgeon never “Informed” me he had never done implantation surgery, I was his 1st, he was instructed how to do the surgery step by step from Mfgr Sale’s Representative.

Now Preacher’s & Reachers offer a power play over your life & body.
Want you to confirm to thier “Religion” thier beliefs, way of thinking; You can’t be in that much pain, pain won’t kill you!
Desire absolute control in the relationship. You do as I say or hit the street! Offer no information, questions are deflected as if you’re just a naive patient, they “went to Medical School” imply you can’t know your own body or pain. The power to control, dictate exactly what care you will receive, & ultimate power is you cannot, they want to make all your medical decisions for you, they know what the BEST decisions are, usually financially motivated.
All in 10-25 minutes face time, rushed, no clear communication on your Dibilitating Chronic Pain, they are reaching for that door handle to exit the room.


“67% believe that all people should have full and equal access to pain management regardless of genera, race, socio-economic status.”

Wow. I gotta wonder at the 33% who think that NOT all people should have equal access to PM…wonder who they think should be denied. Nice.

Of course, it’s gotten painfully clear that nobody cares what patients think except other patients, so it seems this poll, well-intended as it is, is merely a theoretical exercise.

Alan D Thurman; sorry you’ve been abandoned. I’ve had the same experience of not being to get a pcp for general conditions (like thyroid med, which I’ve been on for 40 years) b/c I was a FORMER pain patient -I’d moved & couldn’t find a PM doc. The prejudice against us would be considered a screaming outrage if it were directed toward anyone other than the group that society has decided are worse even than heroin addicts. It sure is hard not to believe that they’re deliberately trying to get rid of us.


I think this was a very good survey shows that people support people needing things for pain. No matter what it may be. Know one should be in pain so they can’t live a productive life. No ones should be pushed into surgery when there are other means to deal with pain and injuries. People who need pain management medication should not have it taken from them because there are people out there who cannot manage their lives responsibly were Prescription drugs are concerned. This needs to stop in this country people being punished because they need pain medication, Because the people who have addiction problems and other things cannot manage these drugs. This is unfair to the population that is responsible at takeing their medication in a responsible way. Please stop from keeping medications from those who need them because of you own heartache over this. There’s many things in life that hurt. This needs to stop in this country saying people cannot have pain medication because someone died. Everything doesn’t work for everyone or everyone can not handle certain types of medication. There are thousands of drugs have bad side effects. The only ones we focus on to level we are doing are the narcotics. I don’t feel people have a right to tell us how treat pain. There are people that abuse alcohol yet we still allow alcohol please think about this what you’re doing to people who need pain medications and other things that are not approved.


Alan- I agree with you! There is a huge problem when it comes to finding doctors that are willing to help the people that many of Doctors have given pain medications to for in my case 23+ years. Now being forced Tapered and my quality of life has declined and my health has even been getting worse- and I just want to be able to function- have some quality of life1 I’m 46 and so over half of my life they have given me medications- at one point they even wanted to put a pain pump in me! I was against that idea- Thankfully I didn’t qualify because I was on higher amounts of medications at that time- but from wanting to cut me open and put a pain pump in me when I was younger and had much better insurance and funcionability do to higher amount of medication - it makes no sense! I’m a single full time Dad. I’d like to be able to still have some quality of life while I’m raising my daughter- but they are working hard to make sure that is taken away from me! I am with you in regards to having to rely on disability and just getting the daily normal stuff such as cleaning and keeping my house in order is not to the standard I would expect of myself- if I was properly medicated - I can assure you I would do more! I am very concerned because I still have to raise my daughter! I still want to function- I also have worked my entire life. I want to work - but by having them take away my medications which they have already reduced to 1/25th conservitely and they plan to take the few I get now away soon. And I would have never imagined that my body would cripple my ability to function and be a much better person and be able to have a quality of life- I felt for years that if they ever wanted to do this- we would be able to find a Doctor who is educated and understands- but they have really done a good job of putting the fear into the doctors who want to care for people like us- but now they are in such fear- I’ve heard things like “I know this is not in your best interest- I have to

Mavis Johnson

Perhaps a call for a Fact Based discussion would be better than “Spreading Awareness,” because that has not helped. A looks at how local newspapers are sensationalizing stories of addiction, while disparaging anyone with pain. No one is looking at how this topic was truncated and distorted by social media. Social Media created Silos of patients, while using patient groups for targeted marketing.


It is fairly obvious that the pain management patients of this country are suffering far worse with the 2016 CDC “policy” for pain management with opioid medication without much, if any input from the real patients that do have documentation of a better life, more activity, ability to take care of ourselves, and overall better well being with….a tailored dosage of opiate medication responsibly prescribed, and responsibly used. CDC states that between 9 and 11 million patients legitimately need opiate medication as the very last, effective means to manage now, un managed pain. The leadership of this country has announced an “opioid crisis” which is offensive to me as a patient as MANY substances used in combination both illicit and a very small percentage of prescribed medication is the result of overdose. Personally I believe it boils down to MONEY and the money saved by abandoning pain management patients but, that is my opinion. ALL of our elect, our CDC officials, and our state medical “boards” have turned a blind eye to what is REALLY happening among the 10 million or so pain management patients and this number is straight from CDC but, who’s counting? Certainly NOT our “officials that have the authority to either help or kill us.

Bill Halper

I have always been an incurable optimist, however I seriously wonder if all the studies, like this one, are truly read and understood by the powers that be. Further, considering today’s climate, would any studies showing these results so similar to most if not all others be taken seriously? I only hope that they would, but considering prior official meetings in the past with Chronic Pain Syndrome patients explaining their plight yet the results are negligible ultimately, methinks we need to continue pushing reliable, truthful studies with the backing of major medical/pain management companies, and at the same time, showing again the studies of what a small percentage of “addicts” of the “opiate crises” are in fact US!!! that are not addicts but dependent upon this medication to give us the ability to function.

The clear message here is that patients want to be actively involved in overcoming the disability of chronic pain. We don’t appreciate outsiders who pretend to speak for us, and then make up rules for us to follow. We want all available resources to help us regain functionality, and when we observe that a treatment helped or did not help, we demand to be taken seriously.

Either-or approaches, that demand we abandon one therapy to get political permission to use another, are unacceptable.

Dr Forest Tennant had his door kicked in by DEA “diversion investigators”, on suspicion that he had invented a way to combine cannabis therapy together with opioid therapy, and get better pain control with lower opioid doses. And this public service is “suspicious” why? Only because DEA agents with high school diplomas guessed so! When every one of Dr Tennant’s patients called him a wonderful physician and none of them offered to rat him out for a DEA reward, the outsiders at DEA were clueless why we patients want their agency’s wings clipped.

Outsiders who insist on pushing their pet theory of how to treat pain, and ignore the actual results, are unwanted and must leave us free to get the relief we need.


I believe we as citizens should be outraged by the director of the CDC, and the author of the CDC’s guidelines, after he was on TV today giving an interview on CBS This morning.
Something huge came out of his interview he admitted that he had a Opioid dependence issue himself he is enforcing upon the public his issues with his own addiction and is Not getting Gov backing he is requesting. So who does he go to the Media and they threw out their so many deaths from Opioid death as facts yadayadayada
The Guidelines need to be forcefully removed and he needs fired for Harming the Chronic Pain community !!


This article is wrong. The survey, which I took, asked people to name their top 5 concerns out of a list. I supported all of the listed items, but had to choose my top 5. This article is not written to explain this, and makes it sound like less than 100% believe in unrestricted access, etc.

Alan dean Thurman

The patients choice, it’s their body! The patiebt has to take responsibility for their own path! There is no other way, by trying to cut people off their meds your creating Moore heron addicts which will triple theap and Triple again! You have the standards in place, anyone over 27 can choose their path, you are literally destroying the lives of people who need they pain killers for a quality of life, since they have taken me off pain meds I have not worked, I have gained 86 pounds. I smile double what I used to, my house is a wreck, my yard is a wreck my car is a wreck! I have been to physical therapy twice. Chiropractors, I tried acupuncture, I listen to healing frequencies! I’m 48 my doctor retired and u can’t get a regular doctor to except you, the receptionist are asking all new patients if you are taking pain Ed’s if so they say we’re ate full! This has to end before I stroke out