Recently, U.S. Pain has seen a number of bills that propose placing a tax on opioids in order to fund efforts to combat opioid abuse. To date, bills have been introduced in numerous states (MN, IA, MA, CA, KY, MT, PA, and NY) and in Congress. But the bills would primarily place a financial burden on legitimate patients. At the very least, chronic pain advocates argue the funds should also be used to address the pain epidemic, not just substance use disorder.

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On July 18, U.S. Pain Foundation hosted its first webinar specially designed for ambassadors and advocates.

The webinars will be held every two months on the third Tuesday of the month at 1 pm EST. Lasting about an hour, they feature updates from key staff followed by a presentation from an outside expert, with topics ranging from how to appeal an insurance denial to better communicating with your clinician.

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Pain Awareness Month (PAM) in September is fast approaching. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference for the pain community, here are some options for how to get involved. Some activities require advance planning, while others take just a few minutes. There’s something for everyone!

Spread the word: Easily change lives by distributing U.S. Pain materials and resources anywhere you can, whether at a library or doctor’s office. To request materials, email

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Camp attendees with their certificates.

Ages: 4-17 years old

Location: All over the country

Pain warrior role: Third Annual Pediatric Pain Camp attendees

Pain conditions: Attendees have a wide range of conditions that cause chronic pain, from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, to migraine disease, to gastroparesis, to postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “I distract myself during the worst times, using my tablet, TV or doing an art project,” – Sawyer Horcher; “Just being around other kids my age that know the feeling of this situation that we’re all in,” – Dennis Alden. “During those times when the pain gets so bad I drown myself in my music,” – Jordan Johnston.

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Three of the INvisible Project RA/RD participants, including Leach, at far right.

The INvisible Project: rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease (RA/RD) edition is now available in print and online.

The publication includes profiles of 10 people living with RA/RD, showing the reality of life with pain, and why people with RA/RD need and deserve more help, treatment options, and research. The goal is to create public awareness and offer hope to other pain warriors living with RA/RD.

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Wendy Foster, at left, with Sen. Blumenthal.

On July 25, the Senate voted to start debate on several proposed bills that aim to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While it remains unclear what the final version of the bill will look like, every proposal so far would likely have negative consequences on those with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.

U.S. Pain is asking members to take action now by sending a letter to your senators using this easy tool. Most major health care organizations oppose the proposed reforms, including the American Medical Association;  the American Public Health Association; American Hospital Association; American Association of Medical Colleges; AARP; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Heart Association: American Lung Association; and National Organization for Rare Disorders.

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Shaina Smith, third from left, at the roundtable.

Shaina Smith, U.S. Pain director of State Advocacy & Alliance Development, was among several panelists who gathered July 20 in Concord, N.H., to discuss the findings of a draft report on abuse-deterrent formularies (ADFs), or pain medications that are formulated to be difficult to crush or tamper with. The draft report was released in May by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit that evaluates evidence on the value of medical tests, treatments, and innovations.

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On July 10, Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy signed into law Senate Bill 445, which creates a more transparent process for the patient when paying for prescriptions at the pharmacy.

“This would not have been possible without the persistence and willingness from volunteers who took the time to reach out to lawmakers and champion on behalf of this legislation,” says Shaina Smith, director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development. “Thank you.”

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U.S. Pain encourages advocates to take action to support the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S.1374/H.R.2920) by sending a letter to their legislators (click here to contact your legislator). The bill represents a major step forward for medical cannabis — it would move cannabis from a schedule I drug to a schedule II drug, reduce the role of the federal government in interfering with state medical cannabis programs, and enhance access for veterans.

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Ty Cashman, U.S. Pain’s director of Pediatric Fundraising, has been getting a lot of attention thanks to his much-deserved recognition from the Yankees during HOPE Week in June. Most recently, Cashman was highlighted in a short documentary about Points for Pain that aired last month on the YES Network, and can be seen here.

But Cashman’s goal isn’t accolades: it’s raising more funding for pediatric pain warriors. That’s why he’s encouraging other kids to get involved and host their own Points for Pain games.

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