I enjoyed talking with Canadian broadcaster Roy Green, on the Roy Green Show, on December 9, 2017, about the pressures on people in serious, chronic pain because of public policy approaches to the opioid epidemic in the US and Canada. Sometimes it takes someone who has experienced severe, persistent pain personally or through the pain of a loved one to really understand the unique features of a life in intractable pain. Roy’s wife, who is now deceased, suffered from severe spinal pain and then cancer pain. He lived and breathed her pain experience as a loved one and caretaker. Although I believe his show evinces Roy’s great compassion for a variety of issues facing Canadians, this insight inspired Roy to speak out about pain.
In the United States and Canada today our public policy approach to opioid misuse is hurting the treatment of people in serious pain. Stepped up prosecution of doctors, many of whom are reputable physicians, a regulatory environment that is sometimes reactive and simplistic, and a media approach feeds fear and hysteria, have all created a situation in which many pain patients who have relied upon opioid analgesics in order to function well are being forcibly cut off and losing their hold on productive lives as a result.
As someone who was a career-long prosecutor of civil rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act, I believe that our current approach is doing little to help either group affected by opioid misuse, those with addiction or opioid misuse disorder, and those with chronic pain.
You can hear the whole interview at https://player.fm/series/roy-green-show-1243836.