The pain-opioid epidemic is killing and harming more and more Americans. In addition, the related issues of chronic pain and the consequence of the “War on Drugs” are having an ever-increasing devastating impact on individuals, families, communities, nationally and globally.
The politician, medical community and other stakeholders have failed to provide solutions to this societal challenge. Rather than continue the business as usual approach to the challenges of the epidemic , we need a pragmatic approach that is solution focused. Rather than continuing the “war on drugs” we need to explore public health oriented approaches. We need to clearly define and agree on the interconnected challenges the epidemic poses. These may include our problem list. Working together we can find solutions that provide accepted outcomes for clearly defined goals that improve the health and well being of all Americans at a cost we can afford. The Medical Case Presentation approach in general and the treatment plan offer a framework to address the challenges in a holistic, collaborative, and ongoing manner. (More about the treatment plan)
The challenge of pain and related opioid use required a well formulated, coordinated effort that addresses the complexity of the pain-opioid ecosystem* as well as leverages an understanding of the institutional challenges that must be identified and overcome. The Pain Opioid Epidemic citizen oriented treatment plan provides a comprehensive, multi stakeholder and multi phase road map for citizen involvement in their political ecosystem. Our goal is to provide a framework, a platform of sorts, to tackle an epidemic that has claimed many lives.
The Pain Opioid Epidemic citizen oriented treatment plan offers a framework and provides a comprehensive, multi stakeholder and multi phase road map for achieving the goals and striving for citizen involvement in their political ecosystem.
We are motivated by and is testing the belief that given the right tools and framework, citizens, patients, consumers, healthcare professionals, public servants and politicians, working together can achieve great results addressing the pain opioid epidemic and related challenges facing our nation. The challenge of pain-opioid use required a well formulated, coordinated effort that addresses the complexity of the opioid-pain ecosystem as well as leverages an understanding of the institutional challenges that must be identified and overcome. The treatment plan offers a modular approach that can be easily used to address particular aspects of the Pain- Opioid Epidemic. The activist agenda that addresses the identified challenges and powerful barriers that have stymied prior efforts at addressing the medical and social challenges of Pain and Addiction. The particular items are linked to an action plan for citizen engagement.
The Pain Opioid Epidemic Treatment Plan builds on the fundamental tools for representative democracy; an engaged citizenry, participating in a deliberative public dialogue process based on reliable information. It builds on the assets of American democracy and the current healthcare system, criminal justice system and social institutions to identify and address the problems and powerful barriers that must be targeted in order to achieve our goal. It addresses the interconnected challenges that are making the status quo unsustainable, and offers a path to a brighter future for our nation. More specifically it addresses the devastating impact of the Pain-Opioid Epidemic.
The treatment plan format allows us to engage in a multistage action plan divided into immediate, short and long term actions healthy deliberative political process toward our vision:
By September 2021 there are no reported deaths of opioid overdose reported in the US.
By September 2022 the official approach to opioid addiction and dependence is informed by a public health related then criminal justice approach.
By September 2023, 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.
The Treatment Plan outlines a multifactorial, action process targeting specific challenges that we have identified. The action plan is divided into time segments that reflect different levels of urgency as well as psychological understanding to maximize the probability of achieving the identified goals. We believe that offering a time frame with clearly defined and measurable outcomes is an antidote to the crisis environment that leads to poor choices and worsening of the problems. Although this division is helpful, many of the actions take place at different stages of the process. For example, the efforts to create a vision for the healthcare system will be an ongoing process. Specific challenges in addressing the Pain-Opioid ecosystem will be described along with the policy options to remedy them.
To be successful, The Treatment Plan approach has to recognize the goal for the treatment. A flexible approach with multifactorial tools that is specific to the problems with the most specific treatment rather than ideological ax-wielding (chainsaw solutions) solutions. Map out the plan with long term objectives and method of monitoring and readjust and reevaluate adapting to the changes. These will reflect current recommendations as well as best practice and multiple other recommendations for “curing” the Pain Opioid Epidemic.
Vision: Establish a vision for the individual, community, nation and the international community
Humanizing the epidemic: Confronting stigma associated with pain and opioid dependence
Primary prevention*: Preventing the initiation of non-medical opioid use
Pain disorders: Appropriate pain management and medical use of opioids
Opioid use disorder: Best practice, scientifically informed addiction, abuse and dependence treatment
Harm reduction: Preventing and reducing harm associated with opioid use, including eliminating overdose mortality and morbidity associated with opioid use
"The War on Drugs": A criminal justice system that reflects scientific understanding on opioid use.