The Obama administration’s plan offers much needed help for those suffering from addiction but doesn’t address non-opioid therapy options

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 – Today, the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management (AfBPM) made the following statement on the Obama administration’s plan to curb the opioid addiction crisis, which was released this morning as Congress prepares to tackle funding for related programs.

While the plan does offer much needed help for those suffering from opioid addiction – by increasing the number of patients physicians can treat with buprenorphine from 100 to 275 – and encouraging the safe disposal of unused opioids, it does not address barriers to access for non-opioid pain therapies.

Known as balanced pain management, it is a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating and controlling pain that ensures practitioners and their patients, not insurance companies or other outside parties, drive treatment decisions.

Balanced pain management encompasses multimodal analgesia for acute pain, an approach that combines two or more pain-relieving treatments or techniques – acting through different mechanisms – to provide better pain relief using fewer opioids. These can include epidural injections, certain antidepressants, NSAIDs and IV acetaminophen.

Balanced pain management also includes integrated care for chronic pain, which can include non-pharmacologic approaches such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, as well as psychosocial treatments to address the emotional and social effects of pain.

Through a balanced pain management approach, reliance on opioid-only therapies can be reduced and patients can have greater access to pain treatment options. But until policymakers find a more comprehensive solution for patient access challenges, new cases of addiction will continue to offset the success of recovering patients.

STATEMENT FROM BRIAN KENNEDY, AFBPM STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER

“As Congress works to address funding for opioid addiction and treatment, balanced pain management is an approach that needs to be on the table. Ensuring access to integrated pain care that provides non-opioid options for treating chronic and acute pain will give patients more options to treat their pain while reducing the amount of opioids prescribed and the chance for addiction to occur. We urge Congress and the President to make balanced pain management a priority so that physician and their patients can determine the best course of treatment, not insurance companies.”

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