Individuals who suffer from severe chronic pain are caught in a double bind. Opioids contribute to the enormous societal harms of unintentional overdose, diversion and addiction, and data on their long-term effectiveness are conflicting and inadequate (Chou R, Turner JA, Devine EB, et al. The effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health pathways to prevention workshop. Ann Intern Med. Published online Jan. 13, 2015 doi:10.7326/M14-2559). But for patients who are helped by opioids, policies and regulations to address societal harms are, in some cases, impeding access to treatment, making it difficult even to find a knowledgeable physician. The need for safer and more effective analgesics has never been greater.

Answers do not lie in pitting one serious disease (i.e., chronic pain) against another (i.e., addiction) but in seeking scientific breakthroughs that lead to serious analgesic benefits without addictive properties or risk for respiratory depression. Rigorous research of cannabinoids has the potential to unlock a medicinal benefit on a societal scale. But committing to the necessary research requires rethinking how we classify cannabinoids as a controlled substance.

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In an effort to curb opioid drug abuse and addiction, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued new rules that limit the accessibility of hydrocodone, putting chronic pain sufferers who rely on the drug in an impossible situation.
The DEA’s new restrictions come after the decision to relabel hydrocodone as a Schedule II drug, making it difficult for users with chronic pain to receive the medicine they need. The recent changes include the elimination of phone-in refills and a mandatory check-in with a doctor every 90 days for a refill.
Hydrocodone is one of the most widely used drugs to fight chronic pain in the United States, serving a consumer base of about 100 million people. Many who rely on hydrocodone suffer from debilitating chronic pain, which greatly disrupts and decreases their quality of life.

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Poll: Majority Of Chronic Pain Sufferers Feel Treated Like ‘Drug Addicts’ By Pharmacists

Poll: Majority Of Chronic Pain Sufferers Feel Treated Like ‘Drug Addicts’ By Pharmacists

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – The majority of people who suffer from chronic pain feel they are treated like drug addicts during their pharmacy visits, and nearly one-third of pain sufferers showed concern they are being embarrassed by their healthcare provider.
The National Pain Foundation, a Golden, Colo.-based non-profit that aims to “transform the way pain is fundamentally understood, assessed and treated,” conducted a survey of over 300 people afflicted with chronic pain to assess treatment they receive from healthcare providers.
More than half (52 percent) stated that they “are concerned that they will be treated like a drug addict by their pharmacist”. And an additional 29 percent said that they “are concerned that they will be embarrassed by their pharmacist”.
The survey found that nearly 1 in 5 (17 percent) reported they were “treated poorly or very poorly” by their pharmacist, and many respondents said they had been degraded, humiliated and even been accused of being a drug addict taking “enough meds to kill an elephant,” one comment alleged.

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