Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015

March 4, 2015

The Honorable Orrin Hatch
United States Senate
104 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senate
530 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Hatch and Whitehouse:

As people with chronic pain and their loved ones, we would like to express our support for the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 (S. 483). Thank you for listening, hearing our concerns, and taking action.

We are concerned about the inappropriate use of prescription medicines and protecting patient access to appropriately prescribed pain medications. While these two issues are intricately connected, they are separate issues. There needs to be a good balance between effective enforcement against illicit use, addiction issues, and access to pain relief by millions of people with chronic pain conditions.

Patient education about opioid medications, including their safe use, storage, and disposal is necessary; we encourage funding appropriations to develop and engage all patients who decide with their physicians to pursue this course of pain care treatment. Continued education for physicians about the safe prescribing of pain medications is necessary and valued by patients.

Thank you for including in your legislation a report back to congress that includes patient advocates. People with chronic pain conditions are often lacking funds to contribute to major issue campaigns to protect their right to pain relief. United voices are our currency. Fair representation and participation by chronic pain patients in policymaking is one of our calls to action to our elected representatives.

Many stakeholders play a role in preventing drug abuse and illicit use. Many stakeholders should play a role in advocating for chronic pain research to help the 100 million American adults with chronic pain conditions as well as the 500 million veterans using opioid medications for chronic pain conditions. Chronic pain is a disease unto itself and affects more people than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined. A National Institute of Pain should be created to find new ways to treat this disease. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has made commendable research advances to understand addiction as a disease.

Thank you for your leadership on this important issue. We appreciate you for listening to our concerns and for taking action to help us.

Sincerely yours,

(Millions of People with Chronic Pain)