The Challenge of Treating Chronic Pain: Lessons Learned from the Opioid Epidemic
Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM EDT
The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York
The New York Academy of Sciences
Science Translational Medicine
According to the CDC, chronic pain impacts approximately 50 million Americans each year, more than 20% of the U.S. adult population. 20 million of those individuals suffer from “high-impact chronic pain” that limits life or work activities. Chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability and has the potential to seriously affect daily activities, quality of life, and psychological well-being.
Challenges persist in the treatment of chronic pain. Without effective treatment options, many patients experience prolonged suffering.
During the 1990s, a number of failures led to a sharp surge in opioid prescriptions, despite lack of evidence that opioids are effective for treating chronic pain —which it turns out they are not— (e.g., aggressive marketing and concealment of opioids’ addictive properties by the pharmaceutical industry, inadequacies in the U.S. drug regulatory system, over-prescribing, poor physician training in pain management, a wrongful belief that pain patients do not become dependent on opioids, etc.). In the past 30 years, many patients seeking relief from their chronic pain disorders became addicted to opioids with devastating consequences such as dependence, major side effects, inability to adequately perform daily life activities, overdoses, and deaths. Because of the severe withdrawal symptoms they experience many of the patients cannot reduce their opioid intake.
As we look to the future, questions remain regarding what can be learned from the history of chronic pain management and its intersection with the opioid crisis. This evening event will explore what lessons can be learned from the opioid epidemic and how current knowledge can be applied to improving chronic pain management in the near-future without risk of addiction. The New York Academy of Sciences and Science Translational Medicine will bring together leading researchers and experts for a panel discussion that explores following questions and more:
- Does chronic pain differ from acute pain?
- Why and what are the difficulties in treating chronic pain?
- What treatment options are on the horizon for individuals suffering from chronic pain?
- Will improving our understanding of pain mechanisms help develop better drugs and therapeutics in the future?
- What are the lessons we have learned from the past failures related to the opioid crisis?
- What does the future look like in terms of potential successes?
- What are the challenges that need to be overcome for effective management of chronic pain?
This evening event is preceded by a two-day scientific symposium, Advances in Pain, convening at the New York Academy of Sciences on April 26-27, 2021. For more information and registration for the two-day program, please visit: www.nyas.org/Pain2021
Harvard Medical School
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Chronic Pain Research Alliance
June 16, 2020
Setting the Stage