National Pain Strategy – What Happens Now?

National Pain Strategy - What Happens Now?


The release of the draft of the long awaited National Pain Strategy is drawing reaction among leaders in the pain community.  And the general consensus seems to be “it’s about time”.


“This report is long overdue.” said Dan Bennett M.D., the chair of the National Pain Foundation. “The acknowledgement that pain is unique, real and can be a disease, itself, is not new.  The report, however, is a public document acknowledging information that has been ignored, by public agencies, for too long.”


Bennett echoed the sentiments of many we’ve talked to. It’s important now for people to comment on the draft. Public comment is welcome until May 20.


“I would encourage people who live with pain, their significant others, families and friend to engage as the NIH welcomes public commentary,” he said. “It’s important to be heard.”


The National Pain Strategy was released by the National Institutes of Health. There are six key areas addressed:

  1. Determine just how big and how severe chronic pain is as public health issue.
  2. Better emphasis on prevention of acute and chronic pain.
  3. Improve the quality of pain care AND reduce barriers to underserved populations at risk for pain.
  4. How to make sure that access to optimal pain management is available to all.
  5. More education and training for the people who deliver care.
  6. Create a national pain awareness campaign and promote safe medication use by patients.

“The National Pain Strategy represents the United States first strategic plan for transforming and advancing pain care, education, research and prevention,” Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine told the National Pain Report.

Dr. Mackey was one of 80 experts from medical, scientific, public, private, insurance, and patient advocacy groups as well as federal health agencies. He said that the NPS was called for in the 2011 Institute of Medicine report, “Relieving Pain in America” and is a strategic, action-oriented document to transform how we assess and manage pain in our country.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bennett is restarting the National Pain Foundation with what he calls the Global Pain Initiative.

“The Global Pain Initiative will unite all people who live with pain, in any form, as a digital community; to define what pain is and from that perspective to truly begin to understand the far ranging effects pain has on us as individuals and the impact it has on our communities, countries and the whole of our global essence.”

Editor’s Note—At the National Pain Report we know that you have opinions—you express them often and passionately. And, since YOU are the public that truly understands PAIN, it’s important to have your voice heard. We agree with Dr. Bennett and Dr. Mackey that public comment is critical to advancing this initiative.

Comments must be received by May 20, 2015. Written comments can be emailed to, or addressed to Linda Porter, Ph.D., NINDS/NIH, 31 Center Drive, Room 8A31, Bethesda, MD 20892. Here’s a link to the report.

Also, if you wish to comment on this story and would like your comments republished in future stories about the National Pain Strategy, please leave your name in the comment section. Thank you.





Authored by: Ed Coghlan

newest oldest
Notify of

IF the health care system and these experts had any self respect, concern for patients, and a pair of COJONES, they would band together to get law enforcement the h*** out of medicine. Until that day, these ‘key areas’ are never going to be realized.

Instead they would rather kowtow to a bunch of bureaucratic nincompoops who are fighting for their very existence. The DEA have lost the war on pot which accounts for over half of their appropriations and asset seizures. Some unity instead of all the finger pointing among pharmacists, doctors, and researchers would go a long way to ridding their industry of a tremendous leach. The DEA is on the ropes and Congress might be in the right frame of mind to actually give some assistance after being given the middle finger on the MMJ defunding debacle. Now is the time if ever. They have gotten too big for their britches and gone a bit too far this time. It started w/ hydrocodone rescheduling which affected not only the poor incapacitated disabled but actual taxpayers and now ignoring CONGRESS and STATES (by raiding STATE PDMPs for patient info w/out a warrant or even probable cause).

It is a dam shame that those in the health care system are in more in need of a medical help than their patients. What do they need?, A large infusion of guts and quite a few spine donors.

They want input? Ask when it counts not after the fact. These ‘key areas’ are lipstick on a pig. Reduce barriers? One would need a time machine and go back about 10 yrs before they were erected. How do you open up more access after you’ve already shoved everyone out into the cold and put up the closed sign?


Paita- yes, of course, I am willing to help to make sure all stakeholders- and especially people in pain- are heard at the National level, state level, local level and with their providers. This is what is blatantly missing in the National Pain Strategy, as it is with state plans and individual providers. Pain care wont improve unless and until people in pain are heard and respected.
There is no justification to exclude anyone in pain from being heard- it is unconsciounable. And it is only too obvious that HHS and their minions in the American Academy of Pain Medicine,and the American Pain Society-and in front groups failed to make an open and good effort to include the voices of anyone in pain when developing their occupational strategy which they call ” the National Pain Strategy”. Clearly government has been anti-democratic and inconsiderate in their failure to allow people in pain to be heard in the NPS. If this dangerous trend isn’t part and parcel of what poor pain care in America is all about then i don’t know what is. But no doubt so called experts and government view people in pain as not worthy and as second class citizens.
I will email you at the address given and maybe we can start our own petition to improve pain care that will include, rather then exclude stakeholders.


To David and Doc anonymous,,u seem to have a lot of competent knowledge about the politics of chronic pain and how there NOT helping as usual, I agree,,,its a bunch of lip service,,,but,,would u be willing to use/share your knowledge with a organization who will hopefully stop this inhumanty???email me please,,,,,


I wrote an email to Dr Koroshetz at NINDs- regarding my concerns with the National Pain Strategy- his response- was to tell me to put it in the federal register. And so clearly, NIH and HHS and medicine- continue a long tradition of ignoring concerns from the public on pain care.
The big lie technique- to claim that NIH or doctors or medicine or the health care industry or the National Pain strategy is concerned with the public view on pain care- simply cannot be squared with the facts. The NPS task force made no effort to involve the public in drafting the NPS-now -after a year of working on the document-they give the public all of 48 days to read and consider such-and they are required by law to do so under notice and comment rules. Mr. Bennett may be captured by institutional interests- but no good is served by not being up front and stating the facts about how little doctors and officials in HHS care about the publics view-you can debate me on the issue, Mr. Bennett- i think my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is methylated enough for that.
People in pain would be better served by going to their legislative representatives and or joining groups and organizations that will hear their concerns and fully consider them and to demand that people in pain are adequately represented in HHS, on advidosry committees in the IASP, NIH, AHRQ, CDC, FDA-and on the quasi-governmental APS and AAPM-failing that the distance between the health care industry and people in pain will remain a very serious problem that will negatively impact pain care.

Doc Anonymous

I have read some of this lengthy report and my overall impression is one of same old BS. It does have some good comments about the extent of stigma suffered by pain patients and a plea to decrease the stigma.

However, it seems to totally miss the issues of how to get treatment when so many doctors view the patients as virtual vermine.

Perhaps worst of all it calls for more study of pain, but then recommends gathering data from agencies whose primary role is to treat addiction! There is no call for a concerted effort to gather data and study those who are already neglected: Namely those who suffer chronic pain. Perhaps if the medical profession treated pain patients as people, there would be more information and more “evidence” about what does and does not work for chronic pain. Instead the report seems to call for more datamining the addiction databases.

It is very discouraging to see this report in some important ways equating addiction and pain patients. They are not the same althoughthere is some overlap. There are some addicts with chronic pain, but not most. There are some chronic pain patients who develop addiction, but not most. It is sad that the authors of this report seem to have limited awareness of this distinction!

Judy Severson



Mr. Bennett- since when does nih care about public opinion on pain? NIH failed to get the greatest stakeholders in pain- people in pain involved to any real degree in the IOM report on pain care nor the national pain strategy. NIH refused to recognize a FOIA request when the initial draft of the NPS was completed in October 2014. NIH doesnt not seek or have adequate representation of people in pain on their advisory boards. Clearly NIH makes substantial effort to ensure that people in pain are neither heard nor represented nor kept up to date with developments in pain care.
Just how will the global pain inititiative “unite” anyone? I think the facts are clear that pain specialists and their professionalized lay experts and front groups have sought to exclude people in pain. As Dr. Biro wrote in his books- there is hope for people in pain, as long as the conversation lasts- pain specialists and institutional persistence is not about a conversation with people in pain- it is about a select few from the organized sector imposing their failed and expensive pain strategies onto the public.


Curious,,when u look up the National Institute Of Health,,it states is a subsidiary of the National Institute of Drug Abuse,,why is that important,,,they are the ones who sided w/the D.E.A,,H.H.S,,an N.I.D.A. to restrict access to hydrocodone,make us come in 3 times a year,,pee test,,etc,,,soo again,,sorry,,,don’t trust em,,,they’ll lie,,they’ll twist are comments for MORE restrictions,,,and curious,,,why now,,why not 10 years go,5 years ago,,6 month ago,,,,why now?????