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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (Oct. 6, 2017)—Throughout the month of October, U.S. Pain Foundation is teaming up with Healthline on a campaign to bring awareness to invisible illness and raise money for a good cause. The request: share a photo or video that makes your chronic condition visible on social media with the #MakeItVisible hashtag. Make sure the post is public, not on private or friends-only settings.

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Many in the chronic pain community expressed concern after CVS pharmacy announced this month that it will limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for acute or new conditions. The wording of the new policy is as follows: “This program will include limiting to seven days the supply of opioids dispensed for certain acute prescriptions for patients who are new to therapy,” which means people living with chronic pain should not be subjected to the seven-day limit. However, CVS will  limit the daily dosage of opioids and will require use of immediate-release formulations before prescribing extended-release opioids; these two changes may affect chronic pain patients.

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During a Sept. 19 webinar for volunteers, Ellen Lenox Smith, co-director of U.S. Pain’s Medical Cannabis program and a leading national advocate for medical cannabis, presented on access to and advocacy for this promising treatment option.

Lenox Smith discussed included the benefits of cannabis, how to find out if you qualify in your state, and how to advocate for yourself if your state doesn’t have a program or the program is limited. If you missed the webinar, you can still watch the recording or download the presentation by clicking here.

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Lowery Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Thanks to U.S. Pain’s dedicated ambassadors and advocates, Pain Awareness Month was a huge success this year. More than 60 bridges, buildings, and landmarks across the country were lit up blue in recognition of pain awareness month as part of the Light Up the Landmarks campaign. An estimated 25 states and 27 cities approved proclamations recognizing September as Pain Awareness Month, submitted by pain warriors across the country. Several ambassadors and advocates came together through fundraisers to raise money and awareness on behalf of people with pain everywhere.

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The importance of chronic pain education was put on display this week at the University of Miami’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, where Alyssa Dickens, sister of Florida ambassador Melanie Dickens, is a student. Alyssa, who calls herself the “biggest advocate for my sister,” felt that her program was missing some much-needed education on chronic pain. So Alyssa invited her sister and U.S. Pain President and Founder Paul Gileno to come speak to students on Sept. 26.

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From left, Addo, U.S. Pain Vice President Nicole Hemmenway, and County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Age: 30
  • Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2012
  • Pain conditions: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Eat/drink more fruits and vegetables/herbs! Surround yourself with loved ones who encourage and empower you. Hot springs and aqua therapy help minimize pain and depression.”
  • Fun fact about you: “I love SCIENCE!”

Humble and reserved, Tim Addo is an individual who rather work behind the scenes. Yet for the past few years, he has been an avid supporter of U.S. Pain Foundation, and a huge contributor to the organization’s Pain Awareness Month campaigns. In 2017, he was instrumental in facilitating the approval of lighting the iconic Vegas sign blue in honor of those living with chronic pain. He also continues to advocate for issues he feels strongly for within the medical community, most notably legalizing medical cannabis. We are thankful for the dedication Tim displays daily to help the pain community, and that is why he is being recognized as Pain Warrior of the Month.

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U.S. Pain goes international

Golden, left, with Steinberg, at right

U.S. Pain Foundation’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy Cindy Steinberg and California ambassador Katie Golden traveled to Amsterdam for a two-day international patient advocacy forum. Organizations from around the European Union and United States  represented patients with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, and migraine disease.

The purpose of the forum was to exchange ideas on what are the biggest challenges to patient groups today across countries and disease conditions and to brainstorm about hat can be done to tackle them.

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Ensuring network adequacy, transparency and uninterrupted service are all components of legislation recently signed into law by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. An important patient protection measure initiated by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) and supported by U.S. Pain Foundation, House Bill 311 creates  new safeguards for Illinoisans impacted by one of the latest trends in health care: the narrowing of physician networks. The law is known as the Network Adequacy Transparency Act (NAT Act).

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U.S. Pain is pleased to share two new online resources for people with pain. In addition to the new “Find a specialist” tool, which was shared last month, U.S. Pain’s website now also includes “Find a clinical trial” tool and “Living with pain,” an entire section devoted to information about chronic pain.

The “Find a clinical trial” tool is made possible through Antidote, a digital health company that provides objective information about clinical trial options. Through a series of questions, Antidote aims to match individuals with the best clinical trial for them. To check out “Find a clinical trial,” visit uspainfoundation.org/find-clinical-trial/.

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