As most chronic pain patients are well aware, both federal and state governments across the U.S. are looking for ways to curb prescription drug abuse. While their motives may be noble, sometimes their actions have unintended consequences. Too often laws intended to make it more difficult for abusers to gain access to narcotics end up also making it more difficult for legitimate pain patients to get the medications we need. We become 'collateral damage' in the war on drugs.
In an effort to help those of us who live with chronic pain keep up with all of the changes, the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) and the State Pain Policy Advocacy Network (SPPAN) have been tracking pain-related bills federally and in all 50 states plus Washington DC. During the 2014 legislative term, out of the 1,455 proposed bills they tracked (some of which were bills carried over from 2013), 208 have been signed into law as of July 10, 2014.
AAPM and SPPAN have prepared a report that organizes those new laws by state and by category. They have provided an abstract and full text link for each new law, and effective dates are provided when available.
The new laws cover a wide variety of pain-related topics. Some of the effects on pain patients will be positive; others will likely be negative. A few of the laws simply declare an awareness month for a particular pain-related disease. Some make medical marijuana more available for patients who need it. But others do things like rescheduling certain opioid medications, which could make them more difficult for chronic pain patients to get.
If you live with chronic pain, you may want to check out this report and find out if your state has enacted any new laws that will affect you. You can download a copy of the report here: New Pain Management Laws
Published On: July 30, 2014