“Chronic pain is an unrecognized and under-resourced public health crisis with devastating personal and economic impact”

The 2011 IOM report “Relieving Pain In America” called undertreated chronic pain a human and economic crisis in America. The statistics suggest it is.

Pain is the biggest ticket item in the American medical system yet the NIH only started tracking pain expenditures in 2014

Pain is the biggest ticket item in the American medical system yet the NIH only started tracking pain expenditures in 2014

Treating chronic pain is the single biggest ticket in the medical system- costing upwards of 600 billion dollars a year. The NIH didn’t even start tracking expenditures on pain research until 2014. There is no “Pain Institute” and has been no strategic approach to understanding and treating pain. Instead pain is addressed in an ad hoc manner with predictable results: an overemphasis on opioid drugs and fragmented research efforts that all too often yield too little in the new treatments. Most doctors receive little to no training on how to treat pain.

Enter the National Pain Strategy (NPS)   the first strategic plan for advancing  pain research, education, treatment and prevention. Developed by 80 nominated volunteers with expertise in many fields it contains short and long-term goals  in six areas:  research; pain prevention and care; care delivery; education; pain disparities and public education. It was opened for public comment on April 2, 2015!  You can read the NPS Draft Report here. 

Seventeen organizations  in the Consumer Pain Advocacy Group have banded together to prod the NIH to pay attention to this issue.  All it takes is five minutes of your time. (ME/CFS patients might notice it is addressed to Wanda Jones – the former CFSAC  liason that many remember fondly.)

Your comments must be made by May 20th – just two days from now. 

We are at a crucial time in history for people with pain. The very first national strategic plan to advance pain research, education and treatment—The National Pain Strategy (NPS)—has been released for public comment for a short period of time. More than ever, your voice is needed NOW to make sure that the NPS is changed from words on a page to a reality for the millions of Americans who urgently need improved pain care and treatment!

There are 17 consumer organizations working together as part of the Consumer Pain Advocacy Task Force to make sure the National Pain Strategy will benefit all people affected by pain.

The next step in this process is to urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a federal oversight body now, so that HHS can quickly begin working on the plan as soon as it is finalized and released!

Please take 5 minutes to help – here’s what we need you to do! 

Please personalize and send a letter to HHS by email (to ASH@hhs.gov) or U.S. mail (to the address listed below).  Below is a sample letter that you can personalize and send automatically through this online system after you enter your contact information below, and then hit “SUBMIT”.  Don’t forget to add a sentence or two about yourself so that your letter is not the same as everyone elses.

Dr. Wanda Jones, Dr.P.H., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Dr. Anand Parekh, MD, MPH, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20201

Dear Drs. Jones and Parekh,

I am a person affected by chronic pain. [Please insert 1-2 sentences here summarizing how your health and quality of life has been impacted by chronic pain and the challenges experienced in obtaining quality medical care and effective treatment. Family members, friends & caregivers of those with pain, please insert 1-2 sentences here describing how your life has been impacted in caring for or supporting your loved one with pain.]

I appreciate the leadership of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health in developing the National Pain Strategy and for providing the public with the opportunity to review the Plan and submit feedback on it.

During this time, I urge the Office to dedicate needed resources and begin the important process of creating an oversight body, so that once the Plan is finalized and released, a coordinated launch can begin right away. I am also very concerned about where dollars to pay for the Plan will come from, and urge the Office to do its part in making future budget plans for HHS agencies.    Millions of Americans like me are counting on an improved state of pain care, education and research that is urgently needed and will result from this first-ever comprehensive plan and the hope that it provides for our futures.


[Insert First and Last Name]

*For additional information on the National Pain Strategy and the Consumer Advocacy Task Force, please view our press release and visit our web site,www.ConsumerPainAdvocacy.org.



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