Tuesday a hearing was held to discuss the issues surround the national health crisis known as the opioid epidemic. Women who suffer from a severe chronic pain condition testified before Congress urging for more research and a smarter approach to pain management in the same way the country is trying to battle opioid abuse.
Cindy Steinberg, the national director of policy and advocacy at the U.S. Pain Foundation, told members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, “The opioid crisis has only underscored our failure to provide adequate, safe, accessible treatment options for pain relief.”
Steinberg injury occurred more than 18 years ago while she was work when a stack of unsecured filing cabinets and cubical walls fell on her. Due to the accident, she was left with a chronic condition that doesn’t allow her to sit upright for more than a couple hours at a time if she does severe pain and muscle spasms will occur.
In her response to her injury, she started a support group that advocates on behalf of those with chronic pain conditions. Her group supports people that deserve the right to pain management with medication, despite the ongoing battle with opioids.
In America, chronic pain affects over 50 million people and is the leading cause of long-term disability, however, the efforts to contain the opioid issue has damaged health care plans and ultimately punished chronic pain sufferers.
“In the near term, we can and must restore balance to opioid prescribing with depoliticized, rational and clear-eyed recognition of the risks and benefits of these medications,” she announced, according to her prepared speech. “In the long term, we must invest in the discovery of new, effective, and safer options for people living with pain.”
According to the NIH published journal on the prescribing of Opioids and Chronic Pain claims when, “Taken as directed, opioids can manage pain effectively when used for a short amount of time. With long-term use, people need to be screened and monitored because a fraction of those treated will develop an addiction disorder, abuse the drugs, or give them to others. Long-term daily use of opioids leads to physical dependence, which is not to be confused with an addiction disorder. An addiction disorder occurs in about 5 percent of people who take these pain relievers as directed over the period of a year.”