“VA has demonstrated success in reducing opioid use, while addressing the challenge of living well with chronic pain.”

VA Secretary praises department’s model path to ending opioid addiction

Statement follows President Trump’s remarks at summit addressing drug crisis

www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/59377/va-secretary-praises-departments-model-path-ending-opioid-addiction/#comments

Calling the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs a recognized leader in pain management and opioid safety, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie today underscored the department’s innovative approaches to chronic pain management.

Wilkie’s response followed President Trump’s speech April 24 at the annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta, where stakeholders gathered to discuss prevention, treatment and actions to curtail the opioid crisis.

“More than 100 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, and the overuse and misuse of opioids for pain management in our country is taking too many lives,” Wilkie said. “Veterans who have served our nation are particularly challenged by chronic pain. VA has demonstrated success in reducing opioid use, while addressing the challenge of living well with chronic pain.”

Over the past six years, VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) has reduced opioid dispensing more than 50%. Most of this reduction is attributable to not starting new, long-term opioid therapy in Veterans with chronic pain.

Specifically, VA is not starting Veterans with chronic, noncancer pain on long-term opioid therapy, but is instead offering them complementary pain management strategies. These treatments include use of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic medicine, tai chi and bio-feedback, among other modalities, and have proven to be more effective for Veterans long term. Veterans are 40 percent more likely to have severe, chronic pain than non-Veterans.

VA has employed four broad strategies to address the opioid epidemic: education, pain management, risk mitigation and addiction treatment. VA addressed the problem of clinically inappropriate high-dose prescribing of opioids, while developing an effective system of interdisciplinary, patient-aligned pain management to provide safe and effective pain control. In the process, VA trained hundreds of clinicians on this approach to pain management.

VA’s approach is Veteran-centric and whole health. By understanding the Veteran’s goals and lifestyle and incorporating a variety of therapeutic treatments, Veterans are now achieving success in managing chronic pain.

VA continues to offer full transparency of its efforts to reduce opioid prescribing. To learn about the VA Opioid Safety Initiative or for more information on VA pain management, go to www.va.gov/painmanagement.

9 Responses

  1. With our newer medical advances in saving lives post-traumatic incident, we are bringing home veterans that in years past never would have made it out of the battlefield. The VA’s non-opioid stance is outrightly killing people. Yes, tai chi, acupuncture, and yoga can help, but if you can’t get out of bed due to the pain, they aren’t going to be very helpful now, are they….

    Just another fool that thinks by taking away all the prescription opioids, addiction rates will fall. To that I say Ha! It seems like he’s they one who is high….

  2. Comments are being taken at link.

  3. Oh yeah. Great job.

    Since the “Opioid Crisis” has nothing to do with street drug overdoses, and there are 22 Vets a day killing themselves because of a total lack of support services including pain management…

    Since we’re all offing ourselves, kudos on a great job in decreasing the requirement for care, and removing prescription pain management from the treatment options of suffering and injured veterans.

    Dead Vets don’t need treatment.

    Good job, you Carnival Barker psychopath!

  4. He was lying and he knew it, but the lie was aimed at his boss in the white house and therefore it’s all ok, because that’s how the boss also speaks and it was all understood as its the way they speak to everyone.

  5. See how their rhetoric MUST be derived from a common source? That is why it always sounds the same. They have no REAL truth and so it doesn’t lend itself to ad-libs. While our opinions, by those who speak or write well and not as well, are offered in a multitude of ways all arriving at the truth.

  6. Oh freaking BULLSH*T! The suicide rate of vets who’ve had their pain meds yanked has skyrocketed & they know it. (I wish I had my hands on the study that Dr Darnall referred to when she tried to talk sense into the Oregon nuts last year; she was trying to convince them that forced tapers lead to suicide, & cited the VA’s “experiment.”

    These jackasses lie like rugs! “Over the past six years, VA’s Opioid Safety Initiative (OSI) has reduced opioid dispensing more than 50%. Most of this reduction is attributable to not starting new, long-term opioid therapy in Veterans with chronic pain.” How in the hell can not starting something cut the rate of doing it in half? That makes no fricking sense. They cut the rate in half by cutting off millions of CPP vets from their pain meds.

    I AM SO SICK OF BLATANT LIES!!

    • Not starting new vets on pain medicine… offering them Tai Chi and Yoga.. The real decreases are due to veterans dying and killing themselves.
      More Veterans need pain medications than other people because of injuries sustained serving our country.
      Even if you didn’t get hurt directly, while deployed, you get exposed to a lot of things that civilians haven’t been.
      The false myth that pain medicine causes the Opioid Crisis HAS GOT TO BE ADDRESSED, over and over until we convince them.
      Addiction is about GENES. They can do genetic tests now and predict who will be an addict. That’s actually scary but it’s true.
      Do something else for those with the gene and treat everyone’s pain.
      What else is a society to do that has compassion for the unborn, the elderly (not kill them) and those who are sick and in pain?

      • Linda; I agree with you, nearly all the way down the line. Tho if you’re saying at the end that this society has compassion for the elderly or those who are sick & in pain….I think this society has proven that it has NO compassion for the elderly or those who are sick & in pain. Unless we decide to kill ourselves, in which case it’s happy to prescribe meds to do that gently (in the “right to die” states; the other states just let us kill ourselves off however we will).

        Oregon is certainly more willing to prescribe meds for suicide –even opiates– than it is for pain treatment. They insist that we get yoga, acupuncture & other nonsense “alternative treatments” for pain rather than anything that actually works. Recently, they basically got backed into a corner & into admitting that those things have no evidence to support them. So the Task Farce chose to deny any coverage at all for 5 named pain conditions (that pretty much encompass any chronic pain condition in the world) for Medicaid & state health plan patients. “If we can’t get our acupuncture covered,* no poor person in the state gets any pain coverage of any kind” was their basic “reasoning” (if you can call it that).

        I call this the United States of Sadism these days.

        *the task farce & the larger board is comprised of several acupuncturists, plus chiros & other ‘alt treatment’ specialists, & addiction treatment specialists…no bias there.

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