It is thought that more than 28 million British people across the United Kingdom suffer with chronic pain, with 8 million of those reporting pain that is moderately to severely disabling. Despite this, many patients find themselves with pain that is not well-managed; many are prescribed high strength opioids, such as morphine, to combat the discomfort or reach out for over the counter painkillers, unaware that many are opioid-based.
The Chronic Pain Policy Coalition (CPPC) have come together with John Cryer MP after the findings of a health survey in September confirmed that over 40% of British adults had consumed over-the-counter opioid painkillers for three consecutive days or longer, going against NICE guidelines. The study showed 64% of respondents have taken commonly available painkillers, but worryingly over half of them are unaware that these drugs contain potentially addictive opioids. This result is compounded by the fact that 41% did not know the signs or symptoms of opioid painkiller addiction.
Mr Cryer said:
“I have recently met with the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition and discussed the vital need for improved education and awareness surrounding the risks of opioid painkiller addiction. I was concerned to learn that millions of people may not be following guidance on the use of over the counter painkillers and unaware that these drugs contain potentially addictive opioids.”
In light of this, the CPPC and TalkHealth, alongside John Cryer MP’s campaign, are launching a new survey to investigate just how many people who suffer with chronic pain take pain management medications and are being reviewed by their doctor annually.
Patients will be asked questions including what kinds of medication they are using, how their GP assists with managing their pain (if at all), and whether they are regularly checked.
Mr Cryer added “There is a great deal of work to be done in order to ensure we as patients receive advice on our best treatment options, enabling us to return to a life no longer gripped by opioid addiction. I will be working with the CPPC to raise these serious concerns in Parliament and to work with local GPs, NICE, and Department of Health to improve patient education and awareness surrounding the risks of opioid addiction. With the aim to increase the number of people suffering from chronic pain who receive an annual check (both physical and mental), as well as a care plan to help combat the day-to-day problems they face.”
The Chronic Pain Policy Coalition brings together a wide range of professional bodies, patient organisations, parliamentarians and industry representatives, with one purpose – to work together to improve the lives of people living with pain and their families.
Anyone wishing to take part in the survey and give feedback of your experience with chronic pain, please visit http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/freebies/surveys_chronic_pain.php to enter.
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