“Not Allowed to Be Compassionate”
Chronic Pain, the Overdose Crisis, and Unintended Harms in the US caused by the Opoid Crisis
SOURCE - FULL REPORT:
https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files ... 218_web.pd
The government has a duty to address this rapidly unfolding public health crisis: in 2017 alone, more Americans are estimated to have died of a drug overdose than were killed in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. Given the role prescription opioids
have played in the crisis, measures to regulate the use of these medications and to promote more careful prescribing practices are essential.
However, under international human rights standards, actions taken to combat the overdose epidemic should take the needs of chronic pain patients into account. The
government should seek to avoid harming chronic pain patients: some patients still have a legitimate need for these medications, while others who have been on these medications for many years but who may not be benefiting from them should be weaned off them safely
and in accordance with best medical practice.
If harms to chronic pain patients are an unintended consequence of policies to reduce inappropriate prescribing, the government should seek to minimize and measure the negative impacts of these policies.
- Any response should avoid further stigmatizing chronic pain patients, who are increasingly associated with — and sometimes blamed for — the overdose crisis and characterized as “drug seekers,” rather than people with serious health problems that require treatment.
This report presents the challenges faced by chronic pain patients like Maria in obtaining appropriate care, examines how the government’s legitimate efforts to address the opioid