The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project
Addressing the challenges of pain management, opioid addiction, dependence, abuse, and overdose.
American abuse of prescription painkillers has reached epidemic proportions. The number of deaths linked to opioid painkillers has risen dramatically over the past two decades. The CDC estimates that more than 500,000 Americans have died since 2000 due to overdoses involving synthetic opioids, narcotic pain relievers, and Heroin. Additionally, tens of millions of Americans suffer from serious under-treated pain leading to unnecessary suffering.
The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project (The Opioid Project) is an ambitious multi-year project motivated by the belief that citizens engaged with various levels of government (Federal, State, local), the medical system, as well as private industry, academic institutions, and social agencies, supported by meaningful information and tools, can have a great impact on difficult, complex challenges facing our nation. The Opioid Project tests the hypotheses that citizens, provided with information and tools can be trusted to address the complex problems in the community and nationally. In particular, we explore and address the Pain-Opioid Ecosystem in the United States and provide a citizen-centric, bio-psycho-social-spiritual-political treatment plan for the related challenges of pain management, Opioid Use Disorders (including dependence, addiction abuse, an overdose), and the challenges associated with the war on drugs.
More specifically, The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project is an experiment that engages with fellow citizens and relevant stakeholders to achieve the following.
By September 2026 there are no reported deaths of opioid overdose reported in the US.
By September 2022 the official approach to opioid use, dependence and addiction are informed by the principles and spirit of public health instead of a criminal justice approach.
By September 2022 individuals suffering with opioid use disorders have access to affordable, evidence-based treatment.
By September 2022 “The War on Drugs” will be officially over globally, nationally, and locally.
By September 2022, every individual who experiences pain has access to and is able to receive evidence-based, best practice informed treatment that improves their well-being in outcomes that matter for them.
There are many reasons for focusing on the opioid epidemic to test our belief about the potential of citizen participation to address major social challenges, here are a few,
Opioid overdoses are estimated to contribute to nearly 70,000 deaths a year, that about 91 Americans dying every day from a preventable cause.
Nearly all Americans are impacted by policies and practices associated with opioid use and related approach to the treatment of pain in the medical setting, the societal cost of addiction and its financial and legal consequences.
The opioid epidemic is the focus of federal, state and local efforts to target various aspects of this multifactorial problem expanding billions of taxpayers dollars.
Opioid use, from legal pain management to misuse associated with diversion, addiction, involves a complex ecosystem of stakeholders, laws, relationships, and activities that must be understood and targeted with appropriate interventions and strategies.
There are emerging medical, social, public policy best practice approaches to the various challenges of pain management, opioid dependence, and overdose.
Prevention of opioid addiction and overdose involves greater social (and spiritual) challenges confronting our nation.
To frame opioid-related challenges in a manner that promotes collaboration among varying interest groups and provides and monitors agreed-upon measurable outcomes
To provide actionable information and citizen engagement tools to target the complexity of opioid use, abuse, and overdose.
To provide information and tools to assure appropriate medical management of pain in patients who require it,
To provide resources and assure access to individuals who require treatment for opioid dependence, abuse, and addiction.
To identify the local, state and national ecosystem associated with opioid use and provide tools for increased transparency and accountability
To enhance the citizen-government interaction and collaboration.
In order to achieve our vision, The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project incorporates a number of elements that address the complexity of the challenge of pain and its management, opioid use and abuse, preventing overdoses and addressing the legal and criminal justice issues associated with drug use. We use behavioral economic principles, digital technology, political insights, crowdsourcing and principles of solution journalism in our effort. Our multiphase plan includes meaningful information and tools for crowdsourcing citizen participation in the policy discussion, implementation and accountability of stakeholders.
Phase One: The Pain Opioid Epidemic Case Presentation
Central to The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project is the Case Presentation. The Pain Opioid Epidemic Case Presentation provides a framework for an action-oriented collaborative process that addresses the complexity of the challenges associated with the opioid epidemic. The Case Presentation provides relevant and reliable background information about the problem and frames it in a manner that contributes to solving the problems identified. The Case Presentation includes The Pain Opioid Review of Systems which uses the complexity lens to explore the various stakeholders, relevant data, and assessment of the problem and treatment plan.
Phase Two: The County Based Pain Opioid Epidemic Platform
We provide an easy to use platform that is used by local entities to assist in their efforts to provide solutions to the opioid-related problems. The platform includes best practice information, process, and related resources to provide services and links to providers at the local level. The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project and Case Presentation websites are focused on cities, neighborhoods, counties and other local entities. Entities interested in "duplicating" and customizing the websites for their local environment can contact Citizens4health.
The Website for our first local site, Montgomery County, PA, will be made "Public" April 2020.
Phase Three: The Pain Opioid Best Practice, Evidence-based Inventory, and Database
Developing and updating the evidence-based inventory of clinical, social, legal and public policy materials and processes related to our vision. We start by focusing on opioid use conditions, overdose prevention and addressing "the drug war", to be followed by pain-related conditions.
Phase Four: Taking personal, social and political action
Providing individual facing Personal Health Manager for personal engagement for individuals suffering from pain and opioid addiction. Social and political tools to engage with stakeholders locally and nationally.
Phase Five: Real-time monitoring The Pain Opioid Epidemic and its consequences
Ongoing collection and analysis of population and individual data associated with the opioid epidemic. The data will feature The Pain Opioid Epidemic Case Presentation progress notes and occasional Clinical Case Conference focusing on individual situations.
Our team includes individuals and organizations from the many areas that impact the opiate epidemic. We look forward to expanding our team and are interested in citizens motivated by our vision to join our efforts.
Our advisors will include individuals, groups, and organizations from academia, government, social, media, private sector and other. A list of individuals and of groups available shortly.
The Pain Opioid Epidemic Project Web site is the central public-facing aspect of the Project. The website is divided into sections that coincide with the overall mission of the project and include the following: