Opioids and Chronic Pain

There are over 100 million chronic pain patients in the US
(according to the US Institutes for Medicine).

Chronic pain is defined as lasting longer than 90 days or otherwise exceeding medically expected recovery times.   Once diagnosed, many chronic pain patients will have debilitating severe pain for the rest of their lives. For many, pain is resistant (refractory) to a wide range of therapies.

For millions of people, management of severe pain has in recent years included prescription opioid medications as a key element. Opioid medication frequently makes a life-or-death difference in quality of life. However at present these people are being made scapegoats for a perceived – and largely false — “epidemic” of opioid addiction and overdose deaths misattributed to prescription analgesics.  [i] [ii] [iii] [iv]

There are presently no reliable replacements for opioids.[v] Due to under-funding of research, there are no prospects for improvement in these conditions for years to come.

Richard “Red” Lawhern, Ph.D. covers this issue in great detail in his white paper “Prescription Opioids and Chronic Pain.”

Please visit Red’s Corner and download his latest publication along with prior publications covering this important topic.



[i]   Mark Edmund Rose, “Are Prescription Opioids Driving the Opioid Crisis? Assumptions vs Facts”, Pain Medicine, December 17, 2017 https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnx048

[ii] Carl L. Hart, Ph.D., “People Are Dying of Ignorance, Not Because of Opioids” Scientific American, November 1, 2017

[iii]  Stefan J Kertesz and Adam J Gordon, “Strict limits on opiod prescribing risk the ‘inhumane treatment’ of pain patients.” Stat News, February 24, 2017 [see reader comments] https://www.statnews.com/2017/02/24/opioids-prescribing-limits-pain-patients/

[iv] Jacob Sullum, “Opioid Commission Mistakenly Blames Pain Treatment for Drug Deaths” Reason Magazinem November 2, 2017,

[v] Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Noninvasive, Nonpharmacological Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review”, Draft circulated December 2017, pp vii, 270