Pain advocates are encouraged to ask Congress to support Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act, which was introduced in December, through an easy online engagement campaign.

HR4733/S2260 proposes to expand, intensify, and coordinate research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with respect to the understanding of pain and the development of safer and more effective pain treatments. It also will help fund the development of improved options for medication-assisted treatment and opioid overdose reversal

“Those of us who have struggled with chronic pain and embarked on the often multiyear quest to find pain relief understand the dearth of truly effective and safe treatment options,” says Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s national director of policy and advocacy. “One of the root causes of the lack of treatment options for people with pain is the persistent underfunding of basic pain research in this country.”

The NIH, which funds most of the basic biomedical research in the United States, spends less than 2 percent of their annual $30-plus-billion budget on pain research–despite the fact that one in three Americans live with chronic pain and pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

“We still do not understand the basic neurobiological basis of pain in the human body,” notes Steinberg.

The Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act would allocate $1 billion per year over a five-year period to improve pain and addiction research and care. That would amount to an approximate doubling of the NIH’s FY 2016 pain research budget, which was $483 million.

“While this is great news for the pain community, it will take a huge, coordinated advocacy effort to actually get this bill passed,” says Steinberg. “The first step is getting other senators and representatives to cosponsor the bill.”

U.S. Pain encourages you to familiarize yourself with the bill and call your congressional representatives’ offices to let them know about the bill and why it is so important to you. Tell the staffer you speak to that you are requesting that your senator or representative consider cosponsoring this bill. Give them time to read the bill and then call back to see if they will cosponsor.

U.S. Pain encourages you to take action now by participating in our campaign to encourage legislators to support this bill.