Chronic Pain: The Opioid Crisis

The Opioid Crisis

Rope tied to barbed wire fence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website,

“To estimate the prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain in the United States, CDC analyzed the 2016 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data. An estimated 20.4% (50.0 million) of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults (19.6 million) had high-impact chronic pain, with higher prevalences of both chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain reported among women, older adults, previously but not currently employed adults, adults living in poverty, adults with public health insurance, and rural residents.”

CNN Health reports that,

“During 2017, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in the United States and 47,600 of those deaths involved opioids. More than 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2017 and 2017, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

Prescription opioid volumes peaked in 2011, with the equivalent of 240 billion milligrams of morphine prescribed, according to the market research firm, IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The volume declined to about 171 billion milligrams of morphine in 2017, a 29% drop.”

The Maine Response

Our communities continue to struggle with an epidemic of opioid misuse and abuse. This epidemic has many causes. One contributing factor is our healthcare systems’ over-reliance on chronic pain medications to treat a large number of patients. Unfortunately, our current workforce does not include an adequate array of behavioral and non-opioid options for the large populations of patients with chronic pain. Alternative treatments and models of care are needed now, not later.

We are excited to introduce you to an innovative and important project in our community. We have organized a consortium of independent practitioners from various disciplines to participate in a project to respond to the needs cited above. The consortium includes skilled psychologists and other clinicians with experience in this work as well as those interested in gaining such experience.

We have organized a wide range of complementary, non-pharmaceutical service providers who will participate in interdisciplinary meetings for support and consultation. Coaching, electronic tools, training, and support are available. Providers in the consortium can offer evaluation of pain-related problems and addiction, therapy, support groups, and assistance with identifying referral sources for other services that may be required.

To utilize one or more of these services you, or your patient, should contact the provider offering the service directly as opposed to Building Resilience.