Chronic Pain Task Force on Opioids and What Happens Now

Chronic Pain Task Force on Opioids and What Happens Now


Dr. Vanila Singh

“50 million people have chronic pain—20 million of those have high impact chronic pain—and there is an absolute need as a medical community and larger society to get educated on what the best treatments are.”

That was the task defined by Dr. Vanila Singh, the Chairperson of the Pain Management Inter-Agency Task Force.

In part one of our recent interview with Dr. Singh, she emphasized the input the Task Force received as over 9000 comments including pain patients, pain professional groups, nursing organizations and pharmacists opined.

“The commentary helped make the case of how alarming this situation is,” she said. “The comments had an effect on us and the report we wrote.”

(Here’s a link to the final report)

On the issue of opioids, we asked Dr. Singh about how the opioid controversy is often perceived as binary: opioids are either good (giving chronic pain patients and others palliative relief) or bad (they are highly addictive and are a public health crisis).

She pointed out that federal agencies have begun to course correct noting that the CDC Guideline for Opioid Prescribing was misinterpreted—which the agency acknowledged– and that the FDA and, notably, the American Medical Association both stated the need for a balance in prescribing.


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