For immediate release
In the latest in a series of live webcasts by The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a panel of experts discussed the causes, treatments, and impacts of chronic pain that afflicts more than 100 million Americans, as well as the role of opioids in pain management. They described recent neurological research and a recent National Pain Strategy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that recommends educating doctors and patients on options for non-opioid alternative treatments while increasing research funding.
Below are highlights of the conversation for media use.
This Forum was presented jointly with The Huffington Post.
Anne Louise Oaklander, Associate Professor of Neurology; Director, Nerve Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Vaughan Rees, Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, U.S. Pain Foundation; Member, Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, NIH; and Policy Council Chair, Massachusetts Pain Initiative
Linda Porter, Director of the Office of Pain Policy, National Institutes of Health, and Co-chair of the National Pain Strategy
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DISCUSSION
David Freeman, Managing Editor, Impact & Innovation, The Huffington Post
More than 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. It is the number one reason people visit doctors and the number one cause of disability, yet it is widely misunderstood. A new National Chronic Pain Strategy calls for new research and language and a multi-disciplinary approach of outreach to clinicians with alternative treatments beyond medication. The plan is still unfunded.
Chronic pain issues are often mistakenly conflated with opioid use, which is a separate issue involving patients’ misunderstanding and the industry’s promotion of inappropriate product use as well as diversion from manufacturers and sellers. Regulators' over-reaction now may block pain victims' access to treatment.
A patient-centered approach to prevention calls for healthier lifestyles, exercise, access to treatments other than opioids (medical marijuana may be helpful), and outreach to providers, insurers, and the public to reduce stigma and misinformation.
To watch the full one-hour Forum, visit ForumHSPH.org.
Contact: Christina Roache, email@example.com tel. 617-432-7094