People with legitimate pain deserve lives worth living

People with legitimate pain deserve lives worth living

Pain is at best unpleasant. At its worst, it can wreak havoc on a life and diminish not just a physical presence, but the emotional and spiritual core of what defines a person.

In an attempt to gain a foothold in the catastrophic effects of prescription-drug abuse in Florida, the voices of several key players have been swept aside: people who have legitimate pain issues that have been managed with medication, and the physicians who care for them. While there is no evidence that people with legitimate pain issues contribute to prescription-drug abuse, efforts to stem the tide of abuse in Florida are having a clear, immediate, and deleterious effect on people who live with pain.

More than 6 million adults in Florida report issues with pain. As a result of policymaker zeal, elderly, disabled and chronically ill people who have been treated adequately with pain medication until now have been left with few options as they scramble for help, suffering needlessly. They are also wrongly considered a contributing factor to prescription-drug abuse, increasing the stigma and shame associated with pain.

An Institute of Medicine report issued last year, “Relieving Pain in America: a Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research,” describes an integrated approach to not just treating pain, but the person who is living in a state of pain. This effective and cost-effective model of care incorporates a number of treatment options, including medication when appropriate, and places patients at the center of their pain-care plan.