According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) an estimated 116 million American adults are affected by chronic pain-more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. The IOM report, Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research , lays out a plan to address pain as a public health issue in America. One of the recommendations in the report is to “aim to foster an understanding among clients, the public, and healthcare providers that there are complex biological and psychosocial aspects to pain.” Las Vegas Recovery Center has been caring for clients with chronic pain and drug dependence for over seven years. We agree with this recommendation and have developed a term for it in our facilty: Pain Recovery. Pain Recovery is a solution-focused and holistic approach to treating chronic pain, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual functioning. To learn more about Pain Recovery, click here. Treatment of chronic pain is a complex issue. Opiate medications are the most commonly prescribed-and one of the most widely abused drugs in the United States. Every day doctors must decide how to best treat patients without a way to objectively measure pain. In the Wall Street Journal article Doctor’s Challenge: How Real Is That Pain? doctors discuss their methods including treatment contracts, drug monitoring, and partnering with behavioral health specialists. For all of its challenges, proper prescription drug management is essential. The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that over 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives. Prescription drug abuse is now the second leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. behind car accidents. Several government agencies have been working together to combat the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States. In April, representatives from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health and Human Services came together to announce the administration’s new National Prescription Drug Abuse Plan. The plan, primarily aimed at prescription opiate abuse, includes action in four major areas to reduce prescription drug abuse: education, monitoring, proper disposal, and enforcement. Las Vegas Recovery Center’s Medical Director, Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM applauds the government’s efforts to address the health epidemic caused by prescription drug abuse. Dr. Pohl is a nationally known public speaker on the topic of chronic pain, author of A Day Without Pain, and co-author of Pain Recovery: How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain; and Pain Recovery for Families: How to Find Balance When Someone Else’s Chronic Pain Becomes Your Problem Too. A revised edition of A Day Without Pain is due for release August 31, 2011. Dr. Pohl was a major force in developing Las Vegas Recovery Center’s Chronic Pain Recovery Program. If you have any questions about opiate abuse or chronic pain, or if you have a client with chronic pain who may be abusing their prescription medications, please call our knowledgeable staff at [phone].