NFMCPA Response to CDC Opioid Prescribing Guidelines – Jan Favero Chambers – March 13, 2016
Dear President Obama,
I agree that significant changes in opioid prescribing needed to be reined in and that the opioid epidemic requires strong measures. But I have never agreed that it should be done at the expense of the lives and increased suffering of people with chronic pain.
As a patient advocate, for the better part of 2014 and 2015, I consulted and worked with other pain relief advocates
I participated in many meetings, conversations, and panels. I had an unshakeable confidence that if major policy changes in prescribing opioids were to occur, the leadership of federal agencies making those recommendations would care about the millions of people with chronic pain
Now I am chagrined by my trusting naivete and lack of seeing the moral and ethical weaknesses of these appointed officials
I trusted they were listening to the desperate cries for help from the millions of people I was representing.
The CDC Guideline has far reaching effects
Accessible, effective treatments do not exist for the majority of people with chronic pain.
Prescription opioids exist because pain exists.
I’m ashamed that I muffled my internal screams demanding mutual respect and concern for both populations (pain and addiction) and that I respectfully “discussed” points instead of demanding that action be taken to achieve parity in policy by our public servants in the federal agencies.
Whether one can exist, or have the will to live, with undertreated, moderate to severe chronic pain is not a negotiable point, and there are no compromises we have to offer.
The CDC Prescription Opioid 2016 Guidelines are paving the way for Members of Congress and state legislatures to legally torture people who have chronic pain.
Congressional work to drastically reduce access to opioids is additionally harming millions of people who need them because there are virtually no accessible, effective alternatives for pain relief.
Applying pain to coerce someone to say or do something against their will is torture. Intentionally withholding pain relief is also torture.
To rub salt in the wound, the CDC opioid guidelines do not use the 2011 IOM Report Relieving Pain in America for even one reference and state that only 11% of American adults have chronic pain, which is contrary to, and ignores the findings of, the IOM report that more than 100 million American adults have chronic pain (about 35%).
Very sincerely yours,
Jan Chambers, President/Founder
National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association