Palliative Care is Part of the Solution to Reducing Opioid Abuse

 

It’s clear more needs to be done to address opioid abuse nationwide and I appreciate the action Congress is taking to get this done. An important piece of the solution to reducing this misuse may also lie within a bill that already has widespread, bipartisan support and just needs a final push in order to pass.

This bill is called the Palliative Care and Hospice Training Act. Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on treating the whole person and not just the disease. But here’s how it ties perfectly with efforts to reduce opioid abuse. This bill would expand pain and symptom management training for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others who treat patients with serious illnesses, like cancer, that cause chronic or acute pain. It would also boost funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) devoted to pain research. Currently, less than 1 percent of NIH funding is spent on pain. More research in this area could improve best practices for pain management – helping ease suffering of cancer patients while curbing opioid misuse.

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