Chronic Pain and OPIOIDS in Australia
WE EXIST TO STOP FORCED OPIOID TAPERS!
Since June 2020 thousands of people who live with severe, disabling pain from incurable, progressive disease have been force tapered off their safe and effective long term opioid therapy, and left with no pain relief. Some have been left with no healthcare, with many doctors refusing to take on patients who are on long term opioid therapy and/or refusing to prescribe opiods for any reason.
People who were previously high functioning members of their communities were left unable to work, socialise, or live a meaningful life.
These tapers were never basedon medical evidence, but on a fear campaign of prohibition, imported from the US. Its all based on a lie, as we demonstrate here.
There is NO OPIOID CRISIS in AUSTRALIA!
There never was and never will be!
Help us STOP the barbaric forced tapers!
Who we are
We are a patient-centred and patient led organisation uniting to advocate and educate around the prescribing of opioids for severe chronic pain. In recent years opioid pain medications have been demonised based on poor-quality studies and oft-repeated myths. We are trying to bring the science to the for, not the hysteria. Learn about the evidence.
Find a Pain Management service
Pain Management services are in high demand. In the public system, waiting periods are long, sometimes up to two years, and even private practitioners have long waiting lists of several months. We are building a directory to help you find an pain management clinic or practitioner near you.
What does the science say?
There are many myths around opioids, the science tells us that the addiction and/or overdose rate for chronic pain patients is very low, opioid-induced hyperalgesia is a rare phenomenon IF it exists at all, and opioids do provide safe, effective long term pain relief. And there is NO place for dose ceilings.
What does Chronic Pain look like?
Chronic pain can happen to anyone. It can have a variety of causes, including disease, nerve damage, inflammation, pain sensitisation syndromes, accidents or injuries. Not all chronic pain is the same .
Because each pain patient is unique and individual, pain management and treatment must be individualised. The gold standard is multidisciplinary pain treatment i.e. multiple interventions by different specialists and therapies, working as a team. For example, to treat spinal stenosis, you may see a physiotherapist, an exercise physiologist, a spinal or neurosurgeon, and a pain management specialist. You might also seek the help of a dietician if weight loss is indicated, or a psychologist to help you learn coping skills. Complimentary therapies such as massage and acupuncture may be helpful. You may consult any or all of these specialists, or any combination.
Pain is a biopsychosocial experience, and each person’s pain is a combination of factors. Therefore, each person will need a unique an personalised treatment plan, which may or may not include pain medications, including opioids.
Supporting people living with chronic pain
People living with chronic pain often feel misunderstood and disbelieved. Through education and advocacy we aim to provide support to the chronic pain community. Our “Resources” section contains information about chronic pain, potential treatments, and information on many common pain conditions. We also have resources on the opioid misinformation that has been used to deny people in daily, severe pain access to opioid therapies. Our “News” section links to current issues in the news, the latest pain science studies and government policy regarding chronic pain treatment.
We are driven by science
In June 2020 the government mandated changes to the way opioid pain relieving medications are prescribed. These changes were largely misapplied by GPs and pain management doctors, and used to deny patients living with high impact chronic pain access to these life saving medications . These changes were enacted due to the opioid epidemic in the US, which it is now starting to be understood is NOT due to opioids prescribed for chronic pain, but illicit fentanyl and other street drugs. Australia is blindly following down the same misguided path, ignoring the science, the evidence, that chronic pain patients are not the cause of any opioid epidemic. Opioids are the only treatment for severe, daily pain. To deny pain relief is cruelty and these policies are based on myth, not science.
“I use a range of therapies for my chronic pain, including exercise, physiotherapy and opioid pain medications. My pain medications are the thing that allows me to exercise but now my doctor is taking my medications away.”
willemina ward – ankylosing spondylitis
“My neurologist doesn’t manage my pain, I need to see a pain management specialist for that. It means traveling four hours each way every three months. Even an hour in the car is agonising, let alone four.”
daniel green – crps
“I live with multiple chronic diseases and my main symptom is pain. Access to multidisciplinary care is essential. I am one of the very few lucky ones who is still being prescribed my opioid medications”
Sean Fisher – mixed connective tissue disease
Tell your story
If you have been force-tapered off your opioid pain-relieving medications against your will and to your detriment, please get in touch.