An honest and rational question to ask at this stage in the war on opiates is. Where is the research funding into treatments for chronic pain? The NIH has an annual budget of around $37 Billion for medicine, yet the grants awarded for research into chronic pain get roughly $200 Million a year. Consequently when the CDC published its 2016 Guidelines for Chronic Pain they admitted the research for chronic pain was inconclusive and understandably so given this fact. So what did the CDC use in backing up their guidelines, research on acute pain and the treatment of opiate naive patients.
With this continued travesty chronic pain patients are treated as though they are either drug addicts or opiate native patients, completely disregarding the known issues such as body mass difference, tolerance and of course the long term changes in Neuroplasticity which occur.
Straining at gnats, government agency spare no effort at reminding us of the crisis, it’s risks and outcomes, but to date, little if any effort is put into supporting chronic pain patients except to argue the continued deadly practice of tapering and terminating opiates in treating chronic pain.
Until there is appropriate research for chronic pain, government agencies, healthcare professional and public health are making, at best, a poorly educated guess on the safety and efficacy of treating chronic pain with opiates.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an additional $487 million to supplement first-year funding through its State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. The awards to states and territories are part of HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy and the Trump administration’s tireless drive to combat the opioid crisis.
Together with the $933 million in second-year, continuation awards to be provided under this program later this year, the total amount of SOR grants to states and territories this year will total more than $1.4 billion.
This funding will expand access to treatment that works, especially to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with appropriate social supports.
“One year ago this week, President Trump launched his national opioid initiative, which called for expanding access to compassionate, evidence-based treatment, including MAT. This week’s funding awards to states were possible because of legislation Congress passed and President Trump signed since then,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Our strategy is beginning to produce results, thanks to so many Americans working on the ground, in their own communities, to turn the tide on this crisis.”
The State Opioid Response grants administered by HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aim to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to MAT using the three Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder.
“Strategies such as employing psychosocial supports, community recovery services and MAT using medicines approved by the FDA constitute the gold standard of treatment for opioid use disorders,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.
Last summer, SAMHSA announced the first year of SOR funding. States and territories received funding based on a formula, with a 15 percent set-aside for the 10 states with the highest mortality rates related to drug overdose deaths.
Other funding, including $50 million for tribal communities under the Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) grant program, has been awarded separately. These programs are built from the foundations laid in the $1 billion provided to states and territories through SAMHSA’s Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) program. SAMHSA has complemented the work of the STR program with a national center of excellence that provides technical assistance and training to leverage local subject matter experts at the community level to sharpen treatment access and delivery.
SAMHSA also operates a 24/7, national Helpline that people can call to find treatment referral resources for mental health or substance use disorders: 800-662-HELP (4357). People can visit https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to locate those resources, as well.
To learn more about SAMHSA-supported resources, please visit SAMHSA’s Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse page.
Individual grantee awards 2nd Quarter
|District of Columbia||$11,028,183|
|Federated States of Micronesia||$130,500|
|Northern Mariana Islands||$130,500|
|Wyoming||$0 (state declined)|