WASHINGTON, D.C. June 16, 2016 The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and the Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines (Alliance), are bringing together patients, advocates, health care professionals and industry experts for an open discussion on the importance of preserving patient access to pain medications when appropriate as policy makers work to adopt new policies to deter opioid abuse and misuse. The discussion will take place on Thursday, June 16, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in 485 Russell Senate Office Building.
An expert panel, moderated by Bob Twillman, Ph.D., executive director of the American Academy of Pain Management, will include Jan Favero Chambers, president of the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association; Jane Elsten M.D., board of directors of the Interstitial Cystitis Association; Paul Gileno, president of the U.S. Pain Foundation; Amy Goldstein, with the Consumer Pain Advocacy Task Force; and Adam Rzetelny, Ph.D., associate director of Clinical Affairs at Millennium Health. The event will feature remarks by Evelyn Lopez, an ACS CAN volunteer from New Jersey who was diagnosed with stage 3-4 non-Hodgkin 's lymphoma in August 2010. Ms. Lopez, 51, underwent months of chemotherapy and extreme radiation treatments, which took a toll on her body and caused massive damage to her bones and joints. Now in remission, she manages her chronic pain and other side effects from her cancer treatments with opioids to better help her live independently and improve her quality of life. Prescription drug abuse is a critical and complex public health issue, one that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported in 2012 impacts more than 6 million Americans. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimatedæ2.1 million peopleæin the United States were suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012. While many have attempted to stem the tide of this epidemic and decrease abuse and misuse of prescription medications, approaches have often been too narrowly focused and ineffective. The issue of misuse and abuse of opioids must be addressed in a balanced way that recognizes the need to maintain access for individuals fighting pain from cancer and other serious illnesses that prevents them from working, living independently, and enjoying a productive quality of life. There is very little scientific understanding of the basic biologic causes of pain, and today there are even fewer ways of treating debilitating pain. ACS CAN is steadfast in making sure the patient voice is heard in the current public policy debate on the misuse and abuse of opioids. A significant and appropriate national focus has been placed on reducing the harms resulting from the inappropriate use of pain-relieving opioid medication, but we have an equally serious problem with the effects of pain on cancer patients and survivors, said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. ACS CAN is committed to saving lives from cancer and improving the quality of those lives, and will continue to work towards identifying balanced policy solutions that will ensure all patients suffering from chronic pain have access to necessary medications. In 2013, the Alliance joined together stakeholders from across the entire domestic medicine supply chain to craft comprehensive solutions to the prescription drug abuse problem that focus on prevention, education, early intervention, monitoring, treatment and safe storage and disposal. Alliance members are united in ensuring the chronic pain patients they serve have access to necessary medications when appropriate, while employing security in the supply chain to guard against diversion and abuse. Since its founding, the Alliance and its members have encouraged lawmakers, nonprofits, state and federal governments, and members of the media to join the discussion on how to curb prescription drug abuse through a public health approach that allows patients access to the medications they need. The Alliance is committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders to find solutions to the critical issue of prescription drug abuse. By bringing together such a strong panel of patients, advocates, health care professionals and industry experts who are passionate about collaborating to assist patients suffering from pain while curbing the public health epidemic of opioid abuse, we believe this discussion will serve as a catalyst for developing comprehensive, effective policy solutions to solve this nationwide problem, said Kathy Kulkarni, spokesperson for the Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines. The Alliance has been advocating for the Administration and Congress to pass comprehensive, lifesaving legislative solutions to assist communities in responding to the crisis. About ACS CAN ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.æ ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org. About The Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines The Allianceäóîa non-profit partnership of key stakeholders in the prescription drug supply chainäóîwas formed with the mission to develop and offer policy solutions aimed at addressing the issue of prescription drug abuse. The Alliance members include the American Medical Association (AMA), Cardinal Health, CVS Health, Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), kalí©o, Millennium Health, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jill Courtney, ACS CAN 202-585-3278 or [email protected] Kathy Kulkarni, Alliance 202-236-2656 or [email protected]