Opioid Epidemic

Effect on Chronic Pain Patients

Since the CDC’s new prescribing guidelines for chronic pain came out in 2016 as part of an effort to help reduce addiction and deaths from overdose, the effect on individuals with chronic pain has been significant. What were supposed to be guidelines for primary care physicians are being turned into laws, depending on the state. This has created confusion for those living with chronic pain, not sure from appointment to appointment if they will get their current dose of medication or if it may be tapered without consultation.
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The opioid epidemic has caused a backlash when it comes to doctors, including pain management doctors, prescribing opioids. Doctor’s offices have been raided by DEA officers and letters are sent to doctors who “prescribe a lot”. The result has been individuals with chronic pain being unable to get medication for pain control. Insurance companies are now requiring pre-authorization for pain medications, including non-narcotic options. Doctors are promoting non-medication options for chronic pain. Often these options are unaffordable for individuals as there is no insurance coverage them and for individuals on disability, there is no extra money to try these options.


This section, Effects on Chronic Pain Patients, is where individuals with chronic pain can find articles which discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic on them. This includes everything from understanding what the CDC guidelines actually say, to how to deal with being tapered off medication.