The Opioid Overdose Crisis

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The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
"SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information."
SAMHSA's website also offers a free, confidential Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

Page last updated June 10, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

151. Reasons for Changing Doctors

"Chronic pain sufferers are having difficulty in finding doctors who can effectively treat their pain, since almost one half have changed doctors since their pain began; almost a fourth have made at least 3 changes. The primary reasons for a change are the doctor not taking their pain seriously enough, the doctor's unwillingness to treat it aggressively, the doctor's lack of knowledge about pain and the fact they still had too much pain. This level of frustration is significantly higher among those with very severe pain where the majority have changed doctors at least once and almost of every 3 have done it 3 or more times. Their primary reason for changing was still having too much pain after treatment."

Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc., "Chronic Pain In America: Roadblocks To Relief," research conducted for the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and Janssen Pharmaceutica, Jan. 1999.

152. Getting Pain Under Control

"Just over one-half of chronic pain sufferers say their pain is pretty much under control. But, this can be attributed primarily to those with moderate pain. The majority of those with the most severe pain do not have it under control and among those who do, it took almost half of them over a year to reach that point. In contrast, 7 of every 10 with moderate pain say they have it under control and it took the majority less than a year to reach that point. Pain can become more severe even when it is under control. Among those with very severe pain, 4 of every 10 said their pain was moderate or severe before getting their pain under control."

Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc., "Chronic Pain In America: Roadblocks To Relief," research conducted for the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and Janssen Pharmaceutica, Jan. 1999.

153. Chronic Pain Severity and Control

"Chronic pain sufferers currently taking narcotic pain relievers differ from other chronic pain sufferers as to the severity of their pain, being less likely to have it under control, changing doctors more often, requiring more intensive treatment at hospitals, taking more pills per day, more likely following their doctors prescribed regimen and lastly, to being referred to a specialized program/clinic for their pain."

Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc., "Chronic Pain In America: Roadblocks To Relief," research conducted for the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and Janssen Pharmaceutica, Jan. 1999.

154. Medical Marijuana - Supporters - 5-15-11

(US Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Marijuana, and Pain Management) "If a Veteran obtains and uses medical marijuana in manner consistent with state law, testing positive for marijuana would not preclude the Veteran from receiving opioids for pain management in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) facility. The Veteran would need to inform his provider of the use of medical marijuana, and of any other non-VA prescribed medications he or she is taking to ensure that all medications, including opioids, are prescribed in a safe manner. Standard pain management agreements should draw a clear distinction between use of illegal drugs, and legal medical marijuana. However, the discretion to prescribe, or not prescribe, opioids in conjunction with medical marijuana, should be determined on clinical grounds, and thus will remain the decision of the individual health care provider. The provider will take the use of medical marijuana into account in all prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for any other medication. This is a case-by-case decision, based on the provider's judgment, and the needs of the patient."

Petzel, Robert A., Letter to Michael Krawitz from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs concerning its postion on medical marijuana, (Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Under Secretary for Health, July 6, 2010).
http://www.veteransformedicalm...

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