The Invisibility of Pain: The New Ontario Opioid Strategy

Sometimes, sharing the chronic pain voice and perspective on opioids feels like shouting into a gale. But you have to keep trying. Thank you so much to the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance for the great work they do and for hosting my article about the new Ontario Opioid Strategy and the missing missing voices of people who have chronic pain therein:

"Ontario has a new opioid strategy and it’s missing the voices of Ontarians who live with chronic pain.

One in five Canadians have chronic pain. The cost of chronic pain is more than the combined cost of cancer, HIV and heart disease. Direct healthcare for those who live with pain exceed 6 billion annually, and lost productivity is $37 billion.

For many who live with chronic pain, opioids are an important part of their pain management program. Without these types of medications, so many of us would be unable to function and participate in our families, communities, and work.

“I was struggling with the pain of unmanaged RA (rheumatoid arthritis) trying to be a parent to my three children in the mid-nineties. I had run out of disease modifying drug options and it was opioids that gave me enough relief that I wasn't a miserable and horrible mother,” said Linda Wilhelm, President of the Canadian Arthritis Pain Alliance (CAPA)

Despite this social and personal cost of pain, consultations for the Ontario. Strategy were weighted heavily towards issues related to addiction. Organization providing feedback included regulatory colleges, medical personnel, public health, community addiction agencies, and even veterinarians. Chronic pain clinics were included on the list, but no patient organizations."

Read the rest of the article in the CAPA newsletter.


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