Can California Change What’s Happening in Chronic Pain Treatment?

Can California Change What’s Happening in Chronic Pain Treatment?

When it comes to how government will define and execute its role in the treatment of chronic pain, the emphasis has been on the federal government: the CDC Guideline, the DEA enforcement and the HHS Pain Task Force Recommendations.

But in truth, there are 51 pain policies—what the federal government is trying to do and what is happening in each state.

In our nation’s largest (and most influential) state—California—an effort to influence chronic pain policy is being led by an important chronic pain non-profit.

For Grace will host an educational briefing on Wednesday, August 14th from 10am- Noon, Room 113, at the State Capitol in downtown Sacramento.

For Grace aims to convene California legislators, staffers and health care agency leaders. The goal is to educate those in attendance about chronic pain as a major public health concern, the merits of the National Institutes of Health’s National Pain Strategy, the value of comprehensive integrative medicine and a drug-free pain management model that will lessen the burden of prescription opioid use.

The desired outcome of the briefing is to spark a California-specific pain strategy that will implement a model for improved care for the six to 12 million Californians impacted by chronic pain. The National Pain Strategy provides an excellent blueprint for optimal pain care and by teaming with state legislators and health agency leaders For Grace will move forward legislatively with our key recommendation – a Pain Center administered under the state’s Health and Human Services agency.

The Pain Center will implement the following:

  1. establish a network of Comprehensive Integrative Pain Treatment and Research Centers of Excellence across the state,
  2. improve and expand pain management education/training opportunities for all types of health care providers (and students),
  3. work with state agencies responsible for state employee health insurance, Medi-Cal coverage and Worker’s Compensation to revise coverage and reimbursement policies for chronic pain &
  4. develop and implement a state-wide public health campaign to educate California residents about chronic pain and chronic pain patients about pain treatment options including self-care

“In this post-opioid climate, it’s more urgent than ever to find alternative treatments to pain care”, says For Grace Founder and Spokesperson, Cynthia Toussaint. “The public and medical establishment are still woefully unaware that chronic pain is a devastating disease, one that destroys many of our families, often leaves us in financial ruin with permanent disability, isolation, anxiety and depression. The Pain Center, under the direction of the California Health and Human Services agency, is the answer. Our Sacramento briefing will lead to its implementation in California, the biggest state in the union, and be a model for the rest of the country.”

According to the groundbreaking 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain (25 million with the “high-impact” variety which produces significant disability and loss of quality of life) along with inadequate care.

The two-hour briefing will kick-off at 10am on August 14th in Room 113. After a welcome from key legislative partner Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, a presentation providing a comprehensive overview of chronic pain, the National Pain Strategy and an assessment of current pain management will be given by Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of Division Pain Management, Stanford University.

Following that, Cynthia Toussaint will provide a perspective on the stigma associated with being a pain patient and barriers to accessing quality pain management. The second hour of the briefing will be highlighted by a panel discussion about the reasons behind inadequate pain treatment. This distinguished panel of pain experts will be led by Christin Veasley, Director of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance, Dr. Steven Richeimer, Chief of Pain Medicine, University of Southern California, Dr. Fasih Hameed, Associate Medical Director, Petaluma Health Center and Diane Hoffmann, Director, Law and Health Care Program, University Of Maryland School of Law.

To close the briefing, Christin Veasley will provide a detailed overview of our California Pain Center recommendation followed by a Q&A session.

What’s happening in your state? Leave your comments in our commentary section.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Residual Cancer pain 2004 until now Opiate meds cut septic shock leading to strokes. Shoved into mental health wards ,We Americans are doing what Germany did to elderly lame citizens in the 1930s DEA over reach and the AMA profits immensely

Janelle Dalstra

If you really believe that a person can find relief for chronic pain without Opioids, you are living in a dream world. For the state of California to demand its citizens to try and live suffering without treatment from Opioids, you are cruel and crazy. This is all for the addicts who try to get high and end up killing themselves from a street drug. Never mind those who are really sick and find a sense of relief with medication. No that’s not a option anymore! Shame on you! Just exactly what is this all about? None of it makes any sense for the Chronic Pain sufferer.

Pain again

Oregon is killing their patients who have been in the same medication and the same dose for years for chronic pain.
These patients are not drug seekers, they have proven they are not abusing their medication after years of the same dose with no increase as well as no replacements needed for so-called lost/stolen prescriptions. Not to mention following opioid contracts and passing all UA’s as required.
So what does the state and doctors do.
Well, they treat them as if they are just another drug addict.
And now all doctors are prescribing this new “Wonder” alternative opiod to ALL pain patient be it a new or an old pain patient. These doctors which have sworn to “Do no harm” are now prescribing only Suboxone.
Supposedly it’s less addictive then other opioids. Yet is causes more liver damage then some also.

Seems we heard the same thing about Oxycontin years ago. Remember?

Which begs the question, just what did this pharmaceutical company that makes Suboxone do to get their drug to be the only opioid medication doctors are prescribing now in the US?

How much money is that UK based pharmaceutical company making out of all this fanfare?? Now that this company is making the generic Suboxone it seems to be their going to be making billions from Americans.
Yet just a short 4 months ago this is what the papers reported in the UK

“Federal prosecutors charge British drug maker Indivior with felony fraud and conspiracy for its marketing of opioid addiction products including Suboxone.”

This is because the company lied about how addictive this medication is.

So let’s force Oregonians who have done nothing wrong except trust their doctors to either then to street drugs, which will make matter even worse or the final alternative, end the pain forever.

Way to go Oregon doctors.
Don’t you feel proud now????

David W Cole

I’d really like to see the letter on the CDC letterhead, signed by the CDC director or somebody. So I can take it to my doctor anything left you just going to throw it in the trash. Thanks for the info.

Dana Elise Silverman

I forgot to mention the over 100 suicides I am familiar with due to people not being able to deal with their chronic intractable pain after being well managed on opiates. Again, California’s no opiate plan is brilliant if you want to increase suicides from chronic intractable pain leading to hopelessness, but obviously it is a ludicrous plan for all patients across the board except palliative care patients (mainly, terminal cancer patients). As I said in my previous posts, the plan belongs in the round file with no disrespect Cynthia Toussaint.


“there are conditions more painful than cancer”. Yes, and unlike most cancers you might have to live a long time with them. The ridiculous thing is these anti-opioid experts insist that they are “helping” and “educating” us. Collectively, we know more about it than they do or ever will. They can study all they want without cutting anyone off.


Chronic pain is NOT a disease, it is a SYMPTOM of disease. You will never cure pain. This sounds ridiculous. I do not require a multi interventional chronic pain center to manage my pain. Sean Mackey, MD, from Stanford School of Ketamine wishes for nothing more than to gather patients who struggle with pain in one place, as a SYMPTOM of their chronic illness, in a center HE runs. He hopes to conduct human experimentations upon the chronically ill, under the guise of “curing pain”. This is NOT Don’t Punish Pain Rally. As a #CPP I do NOT support pain treatment centers. Certainly not Stanford school of ketamine and Suboxone.

Dana Elise Silverman


Not looking at patients on a case by case basis and treating them across the board by removing an option which has worked for many years safely is irresponsible and forces doctors to treat patients with a sort of blinders on. You cannot remove an entire category of pain relief to treat pain and expect pain to be adequately relieved. I am truly disheartened by this. Some of the doctors participating in this program have excellent reputations, but they are not using their best judgment to rally around a protocol that completely removes opioids from all patients unless they have terminal cancer I bet. There are conditions more painful than cancer. Just because a person with cancer may be terminal does not mean they get to use opioids that CA considers somehow too dangerous for those in excruciating unlivable pain just because they are not going to die from the painful condition. With no disrespect to those with cancer, but I am tired of Cancer always getting a pass and being granted privileges others’ suffering cannot have. It is patently unfair and judgmental. Cancer is not the be all end all. This coming from the daughter of a father with Stage IV Cancer (mesothelioma) who agrees with me. You cannot discriminate by condition. That is discrimination in violation of the ADA. I am sick and tired of arguing about this issue period. Everyone should be compassionate towards everyone else’s pain. Doctors’ need the power back to prescribe as necessary without fear of recrimination. This whole program belongs in the circular file - the garbage can.

Dana Elise Silverman

As much as I admire you Cynthia and respect For Grace, I believe and know for a fact that a no opiate medication policy for chronic intractable pain for all the residents of CA is unreasonable and harmful to many patients including myself who had the intention of moving back to CA permanently in the next couple of years. This program has made my decision to move back impossible, because I am on a multi-modal approach to my chronic intractable pain from multiple illnesses from CRPS to Diabetic Neuropathy to Sorosis to Arthritis to Spine Problems to multiple other conditions. I cannot take Aspirin, NSAIDS, or Tylenol due to my genetic blood disease akin to Hemophilia and Sorosis. There are no arthritis treatments I can take due to the same factors. Opioids are my only option to control my pain along with meditation, PT which is limited to 30 visits per year and a possible extra 30 visits on appeal, 30 visits of acupuncture per year, stretching, massage (paid out of pocket), Gentle Yoga and Restorative Yoga (paid out of pocket), Tai Chi (paid out of pocket), pain psychologist (out of network), and some additional auxiliary medications which are not opiates but help with pain in some way or another. I spend a fortune as it is just to get opiates as all the other modalities are required and do help, but I would lay in bed like s piece of raw meat if I did not have opiates.

It is my opinion that nobody can pass an across the board rule regarding the use of opiates for all patients. Just like the CDC’s 90 MME Limit for everyone except terminal cancer patients was patently ridiculous and ignorant. These black and white rules of law or guidelines do not take into account people who are exceptions to the norm as I am and as many of my many clients are. I am disheartened and disgusted CA is going to pass such an ignorant across the board rule regarding opiates where a patient’s needs are not taken in consideration on a case by case basis.


Please read the post of S.M. Basically, my story is the same. Spinal fusion 4 levels, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, lumbar surgery….and the suggested methods indicated by S.M. The only relief I have had is with opiate therapy and that has been a partial help, at best.

Terri James

A drug-free pain management model!!! To LESSEN the burden??? Exactly who’s burden is this??? We go to the doctor, they know were in chronic pain because we have been for years and years and years (not just the last three) and if we’re blessed we are prescribed a little bit of pain medication. They now e scribe it in and “Wallah”, we pick it up.
Educate us on better self care???This is one of the most stupid things I’ve read in a long time and I’ve read some really stupid things lately. Self-care, now let’s see here, no more medicine, no one to help us, we’re not able to work anymore let alone do things around the house as well as take a shower etc. (we may as well get real here people, I’ve read so many stories… I’ve heard it all and I’ve gone through a lot as well)
It all boils down to we die alone in our beds cuz we can’t go anywhere else! Yep that’s self-care all right!!! I am a Praying person and I pray to God that California can’t do a dadburn thing. My vote is in the hands of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior and Dr. Lawhern.


There’s always a gap between any ideal and reality. In this case, it’s a massive chasm. A “drug-free pain management model” is unrealistic and short-sighted. There are few enough tools in the pain management toolbox to begin with; removing prescription pain medication from the available treatments will negatively affect many people with chronic intractable pain, leaving them to suffer. I agree that opioids are not the answer for every patient, but for some CPPs, opioids are the only answer. I am one of those patients.

I have been dealing with chronic intractable pain for over 15 years. My pain is caused by well-documented spinal nerve damage that cannot be repaired. I’ve tried every medication and treatment suggested to me, invasive and non-invasive. Steroid injections, nerve blocks, rhizotomies, PT, CBT, spinal cord stimulator, a pharmacopeia of pills. Nothing has helped except opioids. Several doctors have told me there’s nothing more they can do, and opioids are all that’s left to help me. So I get a little cranky when I hear politicians and legislators are proposing that self-care and mindfulness are going to be as effective as opioids as remedies for chronic pain. They might as well offer me a piece of leather to bite down on when the pain gets really bad.

I’m glad I don’t live in California. I’ve already lost the quality of life I had before my pain started, but at least I am still able to find a tiny measure of relief with the ridiculously small amount of pain medication I am allowed to have each month. Without the meds, I might as well be dead - I would certainly wish I was. Hopefully the government and politicians will find some other hot-button issue to get righteous about before the country goes completely insane and outlaws opioids entirely.


Cindy, this is a relatively small forum about the injustice of the opiate issue. You will find plenty of opiate supporting doctors. Problem is the internet is Rigged to channel you to the same crab you see on TV. The Networks are not allowed to support Drugs even though plenty of experts want to keep them You are right “post opiate” can be used when we are dead. I am not a “prayer” but if I thought it would work I would ask God to inflict a painful disease on all Congressmen and Senators, start them on opiates and just when they were feeling better, take them away.

Dr. Dan

Most of the goals are reasonable, with a HUGE red flag:
“…….a drug-free pain management model that will lessen the burden of prescription opioid use”.

I am concerned with the author. Sean Mackey MD, PhD leads one of best U.S. centers for pain management. I seriously doubt he would be part of a drug- free solution regarding opioids. It violates basic tenets of pain mgmt care. ALL possible options are to be considered. We already have R Chou publishing the consequences of depression and suicide that his original CDC guidelines erroneously created. Because of fear and over zealous reduction of opioids, this entire program has been undergoing reassessment.


So these idiots think that, by thinking there is no pain, the pain will disappear? How dumb can these people actually be? I incorporate meditation, water aerobics, deep muscle relaxation, and pain medication in order to get out of bed and deal with each day. Chronic, and sometimes severe pain, is part of every day. I cannot take ibuprofen or Tylenol (which is a joke when treating real pain) because I used so much to manage the pain prior to a diagnosis that I damaged my kidneys. If a person does not have serious pain, they should never have a voice in the pain medication debate. Pain patients do not abuse their medication. It is a precious solution to daily agony. Addicts overdose and require Narcan to survive. Our first responders also need Narcan when coming into contact with these drug addicts and absorbing Fentanyl through their skin. I say, let the addicts die. Save the Narcan for our police and fire department members who accidentally come into contact with these losers. Give pain patients a reasonable amount of pain medication that will allow them to function. I still have pain with medication, as do all other pain patients I have come in contact with. It remains at a 4 or 5 with medication as I take a low dose. I can take more but do not need to keep my pain at a zero. If pain medication is taken away from true pain patients, the suicide rate among that contributing group of society will escalate and will continue to be an issue. Tell me what drug addicts contribute!

Leah Pesce

I’m a chronic pain suffer and since the opioid epidemic I’m unable to access adequate pain medication. I suffer from scoliosis and recently fractured my neck. I required surgery which lasted 13 hrs which is unheard of. I have hardware place from C3 vertebra to C6. This surgery has changed my life. I have significant amount of pain daily. I use to receive a fentanyl patch and oxycodone for break through. I can no longer receive these pain medications due to the opioid overdoses. I didn’t abuse my medication and now I have no quality of life. I cannot complete basic activities of daily living because if the significant amount of pain and no one in the medical community really cares. It’s very depressing my family suffers as well, I’m a wife and mother. I know I’m not alone others are suffering as well. Where is the CDC for people like us who suffer from chronic pain. Its unrealistic to think no one requires pain medication.

Erin Sullivan

To Ed Coghlan and the REED FAMILY. What a travesty! In the words of Tom Petty “I won’t back down!” And neither should the CPP community! We should not give up the fight to keep opiates, not find costly, ineffective alternatives. We should fight to keep government OUT of the Dr./ patient relationship. Its ludicrous to think CA will help at all. They will use over-powered politicians without any experience to propagandize the issue and further inflate the misconceptions of opiate use by legitimate people who suffer daily, NEEDLESSLY, to the point where it kills them. It’s cold blooded murder by proxy. Reed family, Im so sorry. If there is someone in particular, like an HMO or even gov. agency even remotely responsible you should litigate, so that your husbands tragic, needless death does not go in vain. Definition of INSANITY: “madness”, foolishness, stupidity, irrationality, absurdity, lunacy. But also, ” doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result” The government in CA is insane. I live here. They try this diversion [edit] every ten years or so. We cannot trust the DEA who are mostly corrupt. Nor can we trust the CDC, The FBI,(which was supposed to be a temporay agency, back in 1908 to control immigration) The FDA (whom are known to have taken bribes in the past from lobbyists of Big Pharma and other special interests groups…. take a look: Wake up people. The bottom line is: The government does not care about you. There’s too much corruption, bribery, and deception that goes on at high levels. What do they care about? Themselves, (their giant egos) and their pocketbook. How can ANY of them be trusted? They shouldn’t even be involved in the private lives of citizens. We know opiates HELP OUR PAIN Who are they to say we can’t take them? Who are they to say our doctors can’t prescribe them? Keep the fight going to get them out! STOP THE INSANITY. Thanks

One pissed off citizen

Let the medical community handle health care and let congress go away thecongress did graduate from med school. If they start messing around with the meds that real pain suffers need they might not get re-eleted because not every chronic pain patient is a pill head. Just because some people abuse the system doesn’t mean everyone who needs it does


Drug-free pain management model for ALL in the “post-opioid era”?? NO THANK YOU. No, thank you. NO, thank you!

Opioids have a very important role in my daily survival processs. I have been thru patches of no meds, been to “Pain Clinics” (now closed, thank God!) that irritate/aggravate your pain condition and prescribe 0 meds to deal with any pain… offering platitudes like “meditate it away”… “visualize your calm centeredness”. I call BS!

Each chronic pain patient, who has been dealing with their pain for any length of time, KNOWS what does and does not work to reduce and/or eliminate their pain. Each person is diffferent, and each KNOWS their own body.

Soooo, how about if we try something RADICAL?!? Doctors, duly trained and licensed to practice medicine, evaluate and treat their patients, in the absence of CDC, DEA, and other governmental alphabet agencies’ interference?!? Allow Docs and patients in a private protected setting, to do the things that THEY KNOW work…to achieve the best quality of life possible given the chronic pain that exists?!?

Addiction is ugly, and very real. Many lives have been ended and many others affected in horrible ways. Huge crisis…deal with it, work on the actionable aspects…help families, children, all affected… but DO NOT take valuable effective meds away from law abiding patients that need them just because other people cannot manage their addiction issues.

It is like making alll hammers illegal because one person got drunk and bashed another over the head with a hammer! The “HAMMER” is not the issue. Inappropriate use by a small population is the issue.

Get government OUT of our Doctors’ offices. Get Big Pharma and their minions, pharmacists, out of the decision-making process re: whether our legallly written scripts should be fillled and when. Allow each person to use the multiple modalities that work FOR THEM to survive yhis horriffic pain and have some quality of life. Tomorrow it could be you…

Reed Family

How? What information do you want in this box?

Reed Family

My husband, a cancer survivor, was in much pain resulting from cancer treatments. He was on a low constant dose of morphine. Which he was on for 4 years. He never abused not once. They put him on a steep step down that had no monthly platos. He died! His heart! It was too hard on his body! After reading studies they should have used platos. For mental and physical to adjust. Thankfully you are looking for a healthier alternative. May his death not be in vain. His dose was ten mg. 4 xs day. Every month they took away 10mg per day. But he died, massive heart attack before he was to “0”. Never a break to adjust. No helpful alternatives for the pain. No compassion for his plight, just treated like an addict - cold.
He was a good man, always did what the doctors said. He didn’t deserve to die in agony.

Just my opinion but I think much of this is about a huge government agency, DEA. It’s funny 70% of DEA’s business is huge marijuana seizures, but as marijuana is legal now in 33 states and the District of Columbia DEA was loosing all it’s bad guys and needed a new foe.

I applaud those Pain patients that have found a Non Opiate modality to help with their pain. I wish I was one of them but I’m not.

My Severe Chronic Pain has now covered the last 25 years of my life. During those 25 years I have put my trust in EVERY MODALITY that my Doctor had suggested - ranging from a Body Cast - Acupuncture - Chiropractic - Spinal Cord Stimulator - Bio Feedback - Aqua Therapy - Yoga - Meditation - Epidural Steroid Injections - etc etc etc - the last modality was to be a Pain Pump. The surgeon told me after the required MRI that a Pain Pump would be extremely DANGEROUS for a patient with my condition.

Sometimes it’s OK to be selfish - so my concern is : what’s the role this Conference will play in getting me the Pain Medication I need so that I can stand up and prepare a simple meal for dinner ?

Since late in 2016 or after the CDC guidelines became LAW - unofficially, my health has declined at a pace that will surely take years off my life - mainly due to FORCED TAPERING & the Doctors Fear of the DEA and State Medical Boards.

The MEDIA has convinced the public that ALL PAIN MEDICATION provided by a Dr is the same as Heroin. The Media has convinced the public that Chronic Pain Patients are the driving force behind the Over Dose rate in the US. We know the MEDIA got it wrong and we know PROP was a major factor and information source for that Media.

So maybe we should re-educate the public about Pain Medication & it’s VALUE for those of us that need it to live a life with LESS PAIN. Once that’s done then we can work on getting the Insurance Companies to pay for ALL the modalities that work for some and don’t work for others.

Erin Sullivan

To Nat, and Dr. Lawhern, As a sufferer of Chronic Pain since being a teenager (hit by car while a passenger on a motorcycle with serious permanant injuries) I agree with you both….Opiods are not going away, this “alleged crisis” is not a permanant thing. It goes in cycles, and is politically motivated. I agree with both your statements. There is no voice, worse yet, no one to hear. CDC DEA are incredibly ignorant. It’s hard when the pendulum swings in this direction. We just have to wait for the next “false flag” so the attention is on something else, or the “crisis du jour”. I think it will get better, but gathering together reps of these organizations is (probably) a waste of time and money. They don’t have a clue what they are talking about…EVER. Sounds like the only rep will be Cynthia herself. We do need actual patients of this disease to be there and hear the tesimony of these people. You can’t possibly know unless you actually feel the disease. My feet are on fire as I speak. My breast is throbbing from cancer scar tissue, like a hot knife continuously stabbing me. It is 24/7. Loss of sleep, loss of someone to talk to, loss of medications, loss of my right for the persuit of happiness..and so on. But I still say politicians have no business decideing our fate. Give the power back to our doctors. Stop monitoring and punishing the doctors. Thank goodness my doctor of 12 years is risking his license, but refuses to abandon me. I am grateful for his dedication. He takes an enormous amount of crap from his superiors, yet continues to prescribe. If I didn’t have opioids I would not be able to perform any activities of daily living. I say to all you people with so much power over us…Mind your own effing business! To hell with “alternatives. There aren’t any. Big Pharma always has something to offer. But they’re not interested if it works or not. Only their bottom line. Nothing else works! (period. the end.) Thank you.

No more pain meds. Was referred to pain clinic. Plan was to chemically (pills) change the brain to not feel pain. Didn’t work, made pain worse and I have lost memories, can’t remember stuff, can’t concentrate, lose my train of thought and other brain functions. Now have migraines and stabbing migraines. Nothing works for those either. Got a cough that is so hard and long it makes me feel like I’m going to pass out. Leaves me feeling very weak. Nothing works for that either.


Drug-free? Drug-free?? “A drug-free pain management model” is an oxymoron. It’s no treatment at all for so many Americans with chronic pain.

You violate our human rights as disabled people with incurable medical conditions by forcing every “to lessen the burden of prescription opioids.”

HHS Inter-Agency Task Force report on effective chronic pain management recommends treating each patient as individuals. Not every patient needs opioids, but others will for adequate pain relief. American Medical Association is against one-size-fits-all treatment approach without opioids.

God forbid that California “influence” the rest of America with this unscientific and inhumane treatment policy for chronic pain.

In what world do the needs of 1.7 million people addicted to opioids force 30 million people to go without the only effective treatment for their chronic pain?

I don’t see anyone taking medication from the diabetics or epileptics. For some of us, opioids ARE OUR MEDICATION! I’ve tried steroid injections, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments.. everything but surgery and that scares me! All it takes is one slip and I’m paralyzed! I’m not about to go there. I do know that if this keeps going the same direction it has been, the suicide rate is going to rise or the overdoses will. I’m sick and tired of the government sticking their noses in my medical business. Dr’s don’t tell them how to run their business so they should sit the ef down and let the Dr’s do their jobs!!

Bob Schubring

I’m saddened to read that Cynthia Toussaint has joined the cult and drank the Kool-Aid.

It’s been proven since 1985 that the opiate substance Morphine forms naturally in human blood cells.

A “Post-Opiate Climate” is a biological impossibility. Every living organism except yeast and bacteria, secretes it’s own morphine.

Dr Andrew Kolodny is under the influence of Morphine, even while he denies taking any.

Can genetic medicine and nutritional research help correct Morphine Deficiency in chronic pain sufferers? Probably.

But we cannot possibly achieve those scientific breakthroughs, by first denying the facts upon which they will be based.

Morphine belongs in the human body and always has been present in us.

Raymond V

I am disappointed with your article. At this time, all that we have available to deal with pain that is effective is opiates. We can’t fix the problem, when we still have the same fools, who were in bed with the drug companies, trying to solve the problem, they helped cause in the first place. To many politics involved as usual. Your organization appears to be getting on the political band wagon. What a shame.

Douglas Hill

I would simply ask that I be afforded the same right to make my own choice that is allowed to women. Women can make a choice about their own body and have an abortion. They get to, in a sense, get rid of their pain. I have constant pain and want access to the same right women have. Why not let older patients, say over 65, make their own choice about taking pain medication to have a quality of life for their remaining years. We, as a country, allow death, but not life. Something is wrong with this picture.


Thank you National pain report for being one of the only places keeping pain patients up to speed on what’s going on and giving us a place to speak out about what’s being done to us. Thank you also Dr. Lawhern for the work you do and for being on our side as long as you have sir it doesn’t go unnoticed!

Rebecca Payne

Opioids Work. Period!!


The government doesn’t have “a role in the treatment of pain”, doctors do. They have a role in supporting the Constitution. They work for us. Let’s collectively ask the National Center For Health Statistcs for the numbers of suicides following opioid tapering and withholding. Even one human being that could have been saved matters. Even if he or she was addicted you would have had a chance to save them.

ruththella white

Decided to stop cold turkey tired of the abuse. Treated like criminal about a non opioid for my MS spasms. Then nasty attitudes all the way around because I could crawl back into bed but I cannot push wheelchair. I needed an increase in pain meds because of the new MS diagnosis and decided to just cold turkey off the meds. I was tired of being denied care for my co-morbid illnesses. Tired of vicious white nurses attacking and emotionally abusing me. Unfortunately, continued to be abused when asked for meds for nausea, vomiting and anxiety was told were not going to give you pain medication. I said that exactly why I am stopping because you are more worried about the pain meds than treating my MS and life threatening congenital heart defect.. I had tipped over my wheelchair and they did not bother to clean my wounds. When they took me to x-ray they took my house keys lost them then blamed me. I forced to sleep on a small, i had diarrhea allover me and they would not help. When my chest pains started they said we are not taking her to the back she can talk to the doctor but that is all that is going to happen. Then 630am they tried force me out of the hospital before my apartment building opened. I would have been sitting in the cold covered in excrement for 2 hours. Cold air feels like being scalded when you have neuropathy. These were a group of white female nurses attacking a 70 yo totally disabled black woman. They were also angry because I stood up for myself. This happened because I stopped my pain meds and need treatment for the withdrawal symptoms


I have a “Pain Pain” policy just like thousands of others. If I need a pain pill I will take a pain pill. All the studies and opinions of others do not matter to me. If If I am able to attend a meeting to discuss it then I didn’t need the pill in the first place. In order to know what it feels like to be hit by a car, you have to be hit by a car.


I am horrified by the following quote from the above column :

” “In this post-opioid climate, it’s more urgent than ever to find alternative treatments to pain care”, says For Grace Founder and Spokesperson, Cynthia Toussaint. ”

“Post opioid climate” !!!??

I can’t live w/o opioids. For the last decade, I’ve known that w/o them, I’d kill myself; and during my forced taper this past winter, I came close to killing myself.

NO other treatment has helped me, and I’ve tried tons.

Even with opioids, I have an extremely poor quality of life. But at least it is life.

The pain community cannot and must not accept that we are in a “post opioid climate”.

And, the AMA, and the recent statements by the FDA and the authors of the CDC Guidelines, support the use of opioids.

I’m really surprised there has been only one comment posted so far on this subject.

Thankfully, that is authored by Richard A Lawhern PhD, who is a frequent columnist here, and who writes that he’ll attempt to use his influence and contacts about this.

I fervently hope that anyone else with any influence will do the same.

I also question another quote from the above column —-
” the merits of the National Institutes of Health’s National Pain Strategy”.

I googled this Pain Strategy and saw it’s from 2016 — a bad year for the pain community.

I dont’ understand what this Strategy is and where it stands on opioids. Are there true merits to this Strategy?

Can someone who has this info — Ed Coghlan perhaps — explain it in a future column or in a post to today’s column?

Thank you.


The people with the “urgent” problem are patients that suffer with restrictions on needed prescriptions. This drives people straight to illegal markets and increases demand. It is all about “shoot first and ask questions later, or “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. STOP. Prescriptions did not cause this problem. Look at all the flawed assumptions. “Polling heroin addicts shows that most used prescription opiates first”. If you make pain pills harder to get while heroin gets easier what else could you expect? Restrictive laws on any product makes them more valuable. We have enough laws. What we don’t have enough of are Doctors prescribing opiates.


Those of us who are suffering in chronic pain are now forced to navigate the streets for pain relief, by those who are lying about opioids…pain patients don’t abuse their pain meds and addicts will move on to something else. When I hear someone claim they became addicted after taking their prescribed pain meds I know they took them when they had no pain and therefore abused their prescription so it’s all on them. Pain patients are paying the price for those who have abused their meds. Now we are forced to navigate the streets for pain relief..nice going


Those of us who are forced to suffer in pain find this opioid hysteria brought on by those who have never had to endure what we have so disgusting! We didn’t ask for this we have to deal with it though. All they are doing by attacking opioids is forcing pain patients of all ages to navigate the streets for pain relief.. heroin and Mexican oxys are the new pain treatment…nice going

Paul Bartolini

I’m sick of my chronic pain being a political football because of the failed war on drugs. Without my pain meds I have no life, no desire to live because the pain controls my life. My pain meds, already radically reduced, give me a modicum of relief and the ability to lead a halfway normal life. Please don’t force me to street drugs or suicide. Don’t I deserve to live?

Max Beichert

“What’s happening in your state?” was the question asked about in the comments section. Here in Maine, the opioid discussion has mercifully turned from chronic pain prescription medication as a primary cause of addiction, to better availability of treatment options for those so-afflicted. While state law permits exceptions from the dosage limit (100 MME) for those whose conditions are cancer, end-of-life, palliative care, etc., primary care providers especially often either aren’t aware of the exemption, or they don’t want to deal with it or the supporting documentation required. Pain management specialists are generally more supportive, but with strict over-reaching controls. It is anticipated that with the change of party in the governor’s office, and laws recently passed that already have undone much of the harm by the previous administration, in areas other than the so-called “opioid crisis,” the hope and expectation is that proposals will be introduced by the next legislative session to amend the state’s own CDC policies, which would eliminate the prescription dosage limitation, and thereby also remove politicians from the doctor and patient relationship.

William J McDonnell

In new york state our pandering moron governor has impose a 100% excise tax on opioid pain meds .This makes it vitually impossible for local pharmacies yo fill prescriptions for legitimate patients. We who endure constant unrelenting pain are cast aside to go die in a corner while this jerk Cuomo courts votes.This is nothing less than a death sentence for the innocent who are riddled with pain!
Shame on you governor and every cow towing legislator who baxks you at our pain and peril!

Louis Ogden

I agree 100% with Red’s comment. I refuse to think of the post-opioid society. Many people, myself included, would not be alive now if it weren’t for opioids.


The “fentanyl” that is killing people isn’t from China NOR is it “fentanyl”. It’s heroin & amphetamines when tested, which is why people die immediately & why the “save drug” Narcan doesn’t work. It’s not a true OD, but a mix of drugs. Addicts think they are taking a opioid without knowing the high percentage of amphetamine in the drug.
The only deaths from prescription pills are intentional-suicides due to lack of pain meds.
The media has brainwashed the country.
Someone said they were treated like a dog getting ready to be put down. I disagree.
A dog being put down is treated with much more love & care than a CPP.


These comments make me so sad. Is ca saying that very soon there will be little to no opiod treatment? So start preparing now with “alternative” therapies. I too am sick and left on side of road to die. A rollback of my meds 5 months ago has left me bed bound again. Very little helps, not even large amounts of pot. My doc is great but hes under fire. Blue cross and Walgreens now dictate changes in meds. Outrageous.


I live in Michigan and I can tell you that nothing is going on here except prejudice. Anyone with chronic pain in Michigan is just suffering and there’s nothing in the works that’s going to give us our lives back. It’s a helpless feeling.


Where are the materials/pitch pages for each Speakers presentation, etc.? Way too wary to be lulled by the corp-speak “Integrated” ANYTHING. Anyone non-medical, unlicensed anybody is your 1st clue. This is the Insurance Co (and now Govt “Mother may I?” for CPPs. Everyone will now have to go thru this new obstacle course. You know, accupuncture & biofeedback “steps” to one-size-fits-all AND the indignity of doing this to a Spinal Cord Injury patient, too? May they burn in the netherworld where they suffer CP for all eternity consonant with Dante’s rings of hell. The bureaucracy freight train & “everybody’s on board!”.on top of the already schooled, trained & licensed to practice medicine layer. Kick the Insurance Co., Pharma & the Govt OUT. PERIOD. Start there.

M. Wishful

Mississippi’s answer to people with chronic pain is to have them all go to Louisiana or Alabama so they dont have to deal with it. Even GP doctors dont want to deal with you if you are on opitis, even though they have nothing to do with pain management. We are helpless in Mississippi. Most cannot afford to move. Medical marijuana is legal here but only if you have epilepsy. Now they say in 2020 they will look at medical marijuana for a number of issues including epilepsy. WHAT!!! I rest my case, Mississippi does not care!!!!

Cindy R

Why does this sound more ominous than hopeful to me? I know California came out with recommendations but I don’t remember what they were. My meds have truly given me some quakity of life, I really hope this isn’t going to be another Oregon.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

Thank you Richard A. Lawhern PHD.