JACKSON, MISS– Mississippi has shown improvement in pain management for patients suffering from cancer, according to a report by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network and the Pain and Policy Studies Group.
The study compared all 50 states in an effort to note where changes could be made in pain management policies and legislation regarding opioids.
“In stopping the abuse of opioids in this country,” said David Woodmanse, with the Cancer Action Network. “We have to make sure we aren’t keeping pain medication from those with cancer or other diseases that are entitled to this pain medication, that need it day or night to be able to sleep or work.”
Woodmanse said Mississippi’s score improved from last year.
“You went from a ‘B’ to a ‘B+,'” said Woodmanse. “And you’re in good company. Only 13 states have an A.”
The study called unrelieved pain a serious national public health problem that has impacted both the general population and certain patient populations.
“..Controlled substances, including opioid analgesic medications (sometimes referred to by the outdated legal term, narcotics) are considered a mainstay of pain treatment for cancer and HIV/AIDS,” according to the report. But while opioids are necessary for pain management for certain patients, the ability to abuse the drug does still exist.
“For this reason,” said the report. “opioid medications and the healthcare professionals who prescribe, administer, or dispense them are regulated pursuant to federal and state controlled substance policies, as well as state laws and regulations that govern drug control and professional practice.”
State law and policies regarding the use of opioids for pain management is what Woodmanse said improved Mississippi’s score.
“There is room for improvement, in how patients and physicians interact regarding their medication,” Woodmanse said. “Those are policies that could be altered at any time, without the need of the legislature.”
The full report can be found here.