Pain Management

Related Chapters:
Addictive Properties
Heroin Assisted Treatment
Methadone Treatment
Opioid Crisis

Page last updated June 9, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor.

71. American Medical Association on the Undertreatment of Pain, 2004

"Unbalanced and misleading media coverage on the abuse of opioid analgesics not only perpetuates misconceptions about pain management; it also compromises the access to adequate pain relief sought by over 75 million Americans living with pain.
"In the past several years, there has been growing recognition on the part of health care providers, government regulators, and the public that the undertreatment of pain is a major societal problem.
"Pain of all types is undertreated in our society. The pediatric and geriatric populations are especially at risk for undertreatment. Physicians' fears of using opioid therapy, and the fears of other health professionals, contribute to the barriers to effective pain management."

American Medical Association, "About the AMA Position on Pain Management Using Opioid Analgesics," 2004.
Note: This report no longer available on the AMA's website, however its content is discussed in "California law eases threat to pain medication prescribers," American Medical News, Sept. 13, 2004.

72. Legal Opium Producers

"Almost half14 of global opium is legally produced for processing into various opiate based medicines. Any country can formally apply to the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs to cultivate, produce and trade in licit opium, under the auspices of the UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961 and under the supervision and guidance of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB). As of 2001 there were eighteen countries that do, including Australia, Turkey, India, China and the UK."

Transform Drug Policy Foundation, "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation," (Bristol, United Kingdom: September 2009), p. 32.

73. International Law and the "Central Principle of Balance"

"In 1998, WHO [World Health Organization], in cooperation with its collaborating center at the University of Wisconsin, elaborated the concept of the 'Central Principle of Balance' in order to guide the development of national drug regulatory policies pursuant to the Single Convention.64 According to WHO, 'The Central Principle of Balance' represents the dual imperative of preventing the abuse, trafficking, and diversion of narcotic drugs while, at the same time, ensuring medical availability. As stated by WHO, 'When misused, opioids pose a threat to society; a system of control is necessary to prevent abuse, trafficking, and diversion, but the system of control is not intended to diminish the medical usefulness of opioids, nor interfere in their legitimate medical uses and patient care.'65
"The concept of the Central Principle of Balance should not be limited to national regulatory policies, but should also guide the development and implementation of international drug control policies."

Taylor, Allyn L. "Addressing the Global Tragedy of Needless Pain: Rethinking the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs," Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Law Center, January 2008) Vol. 35, No. 556, p. 564.

74. PDMP Definition

"Prescription drug monitoring programs are designed to facilitate the collection, analysis, and reporting of information on the prescribing, dispensing, and use of controlled substances within a state. They provide data and analysis to state law enforcement and regulatory agencies to assist in identifying and investigating activities potentially related to the illegal prescribing, dispensing, and procuring of controlled substances."

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: OxyContin Abuse and Diversion and Efforts to Address the Problem," GAO-04-110 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, Dec. 2003), p. 15.

75. State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

"There have been significant advances in implementing PDMPs, 49 states and Washington, D.C. now have operational PDMPs. PDMPs help providers understand their patients’ medication histories, as well as problematic behaviors that signal a need for more in-depth conversations about pain and substance use. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) supported PDMP expansion grants in 11 states in 2015. ONC, SAMHSA, and CDC all have funded research and standards development for PDMP improvements. The IHS, DoD, and VA have piloted the integration of PDMP systems within their electronic health records systems. In July 2016, both VA and IHS announced new policies that require prescribers to check the PDMP prior to making a decision to prescribe controlled medications.
"Historically, the ability of states to share data has been limited, but agencies are currently involved in efforts to enhance the interoperability of state PDMPs. At the time of this writing, two electronic data sharing hubs are operational, enabling 43 states to work through one or both to share PDMP data with at least one other state. Funding from BJA and DoD has been used to enhance this interstate data sharing.
"PDMPs are only one approach to monitoring. The DoD, VA, and CMS all have initiated drug utilization review programs for some of their patient populations to better coordinate care for individuals who are prescribed opioid medications. Many hospitals administer patient surveys to determine whether their pain was managed adequately. CMS has proposed new questions for these surveys that avoid the perception that performance is linked to prescribing opioid medications for pain control.14"

Office of National Drug Control Policy, "National Drug Control Strategy 2016," (Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President, January 2017), p. 67.

76. Effectiveness of PDMPs

"States with PDMPs [prescription drug monitoring programs] have experienced considerable reductions in the time and effort required by law enforcement and regulatory investigators to explore leads and the merits of possible drug diversion cases. The presence of a PDMP helps a state reduce its illegal drug diversion, but diversion activities may increase in contiguous states without PDMPs."

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion" (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, May 2002), GAO-PO-634, p. 15.

77. Impact of PDMPs on Drugs Being Prescribed

"The presence of a PDMP [prescription drug monitoring program] may also have an impact on the use of drugs more likely to be diverted. For example, DEA rank-ordered all states for 2000 by the number of OxyContin prescriptions per 100,000 people. Eight of the 10 states with the highest number of prescriptions-West Virginia, Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Connecticut-had no PDMPs, and only 2 did-Kentucky and Rhode Island. Six of the 10 states with the lowest number of prescriptions-Michigan, New Mexico,14 Texas, New York, Illinois, and California-had PDMPs, and 4-Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota-did not."

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion" (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, May 2002), GAO-PO-634, p. 16.

78. Physician Concerns Over PDMPs

"Physicians are concerned that their prescribing decisions and patterns may be questioned and that they could be investigated without sufficient cause. Some physicians contend that patients may suffer because physicians will be reluctant to prescribe appropriate controlled substances to manage a patient's pain or treat their condition. Patients are concerned that their personal information may be used inappropriately by those with authorized access or shared with unauthorized entities. Pharmacists have also expressed concerns."

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion" (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, May 2002), GAO-PO-634, p. 18.

79. PDMPs and Reduction of Diversion

"States with PDMPs have realized benefits in their efforts to reduce drug diversion. These include improving the timeliness of law enforcement and regulatory investigations. For example, Kentucky's state drug control investigators took an average of 156 days to complete the investigation of an alleged doctor shopper prior to the implementation of the state's PDMP. The average investigation time dropped to 16 days after the program was established. In addition, law enforcement officials in Kentucky and other states view the programs as a deterrent to doctor shopping, because potential diverters are aware that any physician from whom they seek a prescription may first examine their prescription drug utilization history based on PDMP data."

General Accounting Office, "Prescription Drugs: State Monitoring Programs Provide Useful Tool to Reduce Diversion" (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, May 2002), GAO-PO-634, p. 3.

80. Effects of PDMPs

"Although several studies found implementation of prescription monitoring programs for Schedule II opioids associated with a decrease in prescription rates for Schedule II opioids and a shift towards increased rates of Schedule III, non-monitored opioid prescribing, the studies were not designed to determine whether the changes were due to a decrease in inappropriate or unnecessary Schedule II opioid use, or if these changes resulted in subsequent undertreatment of pain.317, 318 No study has evaluated patient outcomes such as pain relief, functional status, ability to work, and abuse/addiction associated with implementation of a prescription monitoring program, formulary restriction, or other policies related to opioids prescribing. Claims of positive effects of prescription monitoring programs on reducing diversion are primarily based on anecdotal reports of impressions of efficacy from policymakers and law enforcement officials.316"

"Clinical Guideline for the Use of Chronic Opioid Therapy in Chronic Noncancer Pain: Evidence Review," The American Pain Society in Conjunction with The American Academy of Pain Medicine (Glenview, IL: American Pain Society, February 2009), pp. 98-99.