How is the opioid epidemic impacting the chronic pain community?
This post is part of a series highlighting findings from our report Flipping the Script: Living with Chronic Pain Amid the Opioid Epidemic. To see more posts from this series, click here.
As the medical community and lawmakers work to find new ways to fight the opioid epidemic, this increased attention has created a misunderstanding around the differences between opioid misuse and the responsible, medically necessary use of the medication for treating chronic pain. In fact, research indicates that those with chronic pain conditions are less likely to become addicted. One study found that less than 1% of of chronic pain patients without a history of substance abuse problems became addicted to opioids during treatment.
In our survey of 1,500 adults living with chronic pain, we found that the chronic pain community feels stigmatized as a result of the opioid crisis:
- 84% believe there is a stigma around opioid use
- Of respondents that have taken opioids, 50% have felt personally stigmatized, and 50% have lied about their opioid use as a result of the stigma
Although opioids have been considered the go-to treatment for chronic pain, results showed that those living with chronic pain have increasingly negative feelings about the medication. Six in 10 respondents said they’re concerned about addiction, while half of those who have taken opioids said they only take them when necessary, and another 42 percent dislike the side effects.
It’s clear from these findings that those living with chronic pain are feeling the impacts of the opioid epidemic. Learn more about this in our report and stay tuned for our next blog on how the crisis is shifting the doctor/patient relationship.
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