Pain Relief Is a Civil Right
April 28, 2022
For years now, pain has been the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 50 million Americans annually. This isn’t the kind of pain you endure when you trip onto the pavement, scab, bruise and heal. It’s the persistent gnawing, aching, throbbing that happens over a long period of time. This is chronic pain.
One of the most powerful and effective forms of treatment for pain is the safe use of opioids. Opioids in combination with other therapies have allowed those hindered by pain to live full and vibrant lives, but the stigma around opioid use was exacerbated in 2016 due to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, that both seriously discouraged doctors from prescribing these drugs and also over attributed the prescription of them as the cause of addiction and overdose.
While opioids are not a one-size fits all pain reliever, the rollback on prescriptions has disproportionately impacted people with disabilities, people of color, women, and incarcerated folks. Kate Nicholson, founder of the National Pain Advocacy Center, believes now is the time to course-correct. Pain relief, in her view, is a civil right.
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