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HHS Releases First Ever Coordinated Plan for Reducing Burden of Pain That Affects Millions of Americans

Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen

March 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 18, 2016 ξThe National Pain Strategy, released today by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the first ever national strategy to provide recommendations to better understand and reduce patient barriers to pain management for millions of Americans who are affected by pain. The strategy was developed by a national team of experts and its recommendations originated in a 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Relieving Pain in America. The IOM report was mandated in the National Pain Care Policy Act, authored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and enacted by Congress in 2010.

A statement from ACS CAN President Chris Hansen follows:

We applaud HHS for releasing the National Pain Strategy, and believe it will serve as a roadmap to guide future policy changes to improve the care of millions of people living with pain. The report raises awareness about the public health epidemic of chronic pain and lays out potential steps to fill in critical gaps in knowledge and policy that serve as barriers to effective pain care. Areas targeted include prevention, improved training, research, education and clinical care.

Barriers to pain care and symptom management cause millions of Americans fighting cancer or other serious illnesses to suffer every day. The recommendations in the National Pain Strategy move us closer to policy change to ensure patients suffering from chronic pain have access to adequate pain care.

A significant and appropriate national focus has been placed on reducing the harms resulting from the inappropriate use of pain-relieving opioid medication, but as this report shows, we have an equally serious problem with the effects of pain on cancer patients and survivors. We applaud the Secretary for identifying the National Pain Strategy as an essential part of HHS ' work to address the opioid epidemic, while still recognizing the importance to provide needed relief to people living in pain.

ACS CAN is passionately committed to saving lives from cancer and has committed to working towards identifying balanced policy solutions that will ensure all patients suffering from chronic pain have access to necessary medications. We are equally committed to identifying solutions that curb the misuse and abuse of pain medications in the United States.

For a full copy of the National Pain Strategy, please visit: http://1.usa.gov/1R8ANeS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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