Shifting the National Consciousness about Pain Treatment: The Critical Need for a National Public Education Campaign

  • Diana J. Burgess
    Address reprint requests to Diana Burgess, Ph.D at One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    VA HSR&D Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    University of Minnesota Medical School Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Donna Vallone
    Schroeder Institute, Truth Initiative, Washington, DC

    Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

    College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY
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  • Matthew J. Bair
    Center for Health Information and Communication, Indianapolis VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN

    Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN

    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
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  • Marianne S. Matthias
    Center for Health Information and Communication, Indianapolis VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN

    Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN

    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
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  • Brent C. Taylor
    VA HSR&D Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    University of Minnesota Medical School Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Stephanie L. Taylor
    Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Los Angeles, California

    Departments of Medicine and Health Policy and Management, UCLA, Los Angeles; California
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      The failure of past practices and policies related to opioid prescribing for chronic pain has led federal agencies and professional organizations to recommend multimodal approaches that prioritize evidence-based nonpharmacological pain treatments (NPTs). These multimodal approaches, which include both traditional and complementary/integrative approaches, hold great promise for reducing the burden of chronic pain and reducing opioid use. Unfortunately, NPT approaches are underutilized due to a daunting array of interrelated barriers including the public's attitudes and beliefs about chronic pain and its treatment. Given the dual crises of chronic pain and opioid use, there is a critical need for a national public health campaign on chronic pain and its treatment to help educate the American public about NPT pain management options, while countering the misleading messages promulgated by the pharmaceutical industry, including but not limited to messages promoting the broad use of prescription opioids and minimizing its risks. Despite these dual crises of chronic pain and opioid use in the U.S., there has never been a concerted effort to broadly educate the American public about these issues and NPT pain management options.

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