How Policy, Guidelines, and the Media Challenge Patient Access to Opioid Pain Management: Shifting the Focus from Politics to Patients

Sponsored by Pernix Therapeutics

This activity is not certified for credit.

Wednesday, September 6

Start Time

End Time

Castellana Ballroom
Level 3

Program Description
The concept of pain management as a fundamental human right is being challenged in the US due to the public health crisis of prescription opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose, which coincided with increased opioid prescribing. Media reports often blame this crisis on clinicians prescribing opioids in excess of clinical need. Although overprescribing contributes to the problem, opioids are still underprescribed for many legitimate patients who need these medications to function. Policymakers, however, struggle to develop balanced policies to address the opioid crisis, which also safeguard appropriate patient access.

Polarization between permissive and restrictive opioid-prescribing camps in the pain community is growing. Caught in the middle are patients who need chronic opioid therapy to function. Fewer clinicians are willing to prescribe opioids chronically, quoting guidelines, flawed systematic reviews, or media stories to claim there is no evidence to support such use. These actions can stigmatize patients, worsen their sense of isolation, and undermine their resilience and self-esteem. It's time to shift the focus from politics to patients.

Learning Objectives
After attending this PDM program, participants should be better able to:

  • Monitor the effect of policies and guidelines to ensure that they do not inadvertently encourage undertreatment, marginalization, and stigmatization of the many patients with chronic pain using opioids appropriately
  • Advocate for patients to receive the treatment they need to adequately control pain and improve function, which may include opioids when appropriate, as part of patient-centered care that meets their biopsychosocial needs

Charles E. Argoff, MD, CPE
Michael C. Barnes, Esq

Registration Website

Contact Name
Stephanie Lee

Contact Phone
(203) 323-5945

Contact email


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