In overwhelming bipartisan support, on July 14, 2016, the Senate approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 19-4. While the act isn’t yet funded, both the House and the Senate support of the bill communicates a commitment to addressing the problem of addiction to opioids for chronic pain on a large scale. This, coupled with the CDC guidelines introduced in March have created a heightened concern from primary care physicians around treating their patients suffering from chronic pain. As a result, they are turning to pain specialists who are better equipped to comprehensively manage pain.
In 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription opioids. That number is escalating at an alarming rate. One in four people who receive prescription opioids in a primary care setting struggle with addiction. The problem is compounded by the fact that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to a recent study by the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
The challenge of healthcare providers is to find the balance between treating the epidemic of chronic pain without escalating the epidemic of opioid misuse. Turning to providers who specialize in pain medicine early in the diagnosis process can offer patients and their primary physicians far more options for managing chronic and acute pain.
“Since January, CPS has seen a 19% increase in referrals from Primary Care Physicians,” said Comprehensive Pain Specialists CEO John Davis. “By taking a seat on a patient’s care team, CPS is able to work with their physicians to address both the cause and the treatment of their pain. Putting patients on long term pain medication certainly isn’t the goal.”