The movie “CAKE” draws important attention to the issue of pain, medication abuse and the significant impact pain can have upon individuals, loved ones and caregivers. The Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM) commends the team behind this movie for bringing greater awareness to the significant problem of pain and the challenges of managing it safely and effectively.

While the movie portrays the specific journey of Jennifer Aniston’s character to overcome severe physical and emotional pain caused by a car accident that also took the life of her young son, CAKE affirms a common theme for anyone who may experience pain – pain is real, pain is unique to the individual and it can be complicated to treat.

AfBPM salutes CAKE for showing various modalities to treat pain, such as physical therapy, counseling, family support, self-management skills and medications as part of the whole treatment plan. AfBPM supports access to appropriate, integrated pain management to address the physical, emotional and social effects of pain. When medications are prescribed, AfBPM believes there must be accountability regarding responsible use and management of these medications. Equally important, there must be a commitment to responsibly prescribe, dispense, use, store and dispose of such medications as part of any plan to manage pain.

It is our hope that the movie will help advance a healthy dialogue about pain, its effects, the importance of access to integrated and safe approaches to manage pain, as well as issues such as medicine misuse and the need for responsible use, storage and disposal of medications to help reduce abuse, misuse and diversion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management’s (AfBPM) position on the movie CAKE?

The movie CAKE draws important attention to the issue of pain, medication abuse and the significant impact pain can have upon individuals, loved ones and caregivers. The Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM) commends the team behind this movie for bringing greater awareness to the significant problem of pain and the challenges of managing it safely and effectively.

The movie underscores the importance of having access to integrated pain management to reduce and improve the physical, emotional and social components of pain. AfBPM believes that when medications are necessary, there must be safe and appropriate management of the medications, as well as a commitment to responsibly prescribe, dispense, use, store and dispose of such medications to reduce potential abuse, misuse and diversion.

What is AfBPM’s perspective on Jennifer Aniston’s portrayal of a person living with pain?

Jennifer Aniston’s character in the movie, Claire Simmons, is fictional, and offers one depiction of pain. The movie’s character is physically and emotionally debilitated by pain and struggles to cope. Her character takes pain medication, undergoes physical therapy and attends group counseling to address her issues. AfBPM supports integrated and safe approaches to pain management, which can reduce and improve pain by addressing its physical, emotional and social components. In turn, AfBPM believes it is critical to responsibly dispense, use, store and dispose of medication to reduce potential abuse, misuse and diversion.

Is the movie CAKE an accurate portrayal of pain?

Chronic pain alone affects approximately 100 million adults in the United States and can significantly impact a person’s daily functioning and overall quality of life,1 as depicted in the movie. While pain affects everyone differently and the movie is a fictional account, it does highlight the devastating impact pain can have on the individual and the people surrounding the individual. AfBPM commends the team behind this movie for bringing greater awareness to the significant problem of pain and the challenges of managing it safely and effectively.

What is AfBPM’s perspective on how pain medication is handled in the movie?

In the movie, the fictional character Claire Simmons is shown abusing pain medication and obtaining pain medication illegally in Mexico. CAKE also shows a minor character stealing pain medication from Claire’s home, a plotline that reflects the reality of how many American teens obtain prescription medications to get high or change their mood. At the same time, the movie sheds light on the value of integrated approaches to treating pain, such as physical therapy, counseling and medication.

AfBPM salutes CAKE for showing various modalities to treat pain, such as physical therapy, counseling and medication, and AfBPM supports access to appropriate, integrated pain management to address the physical, emotional and social components of pain. The movie also portrays how pain medication can be abused. AfBPM believes that when medications are prescribed, there must be a commitment to responsibly prescribe, dispense, use, store and dispose of such medications to reduce potential abuse, misuse and diversion.

1. Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011.