Trends in Federal Law, Regulation, and Enforcement, and Their Impacts on Pain Management Practice

On September 19, 2019, DCBA Managing Partner Michael C. Barnes presented alongside Wade Delk, Government Affairs Director of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), and Marsha Stanton, Ph.D., R.N., former president of ASPMN, at ASPMN’s 29th annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Their presentation, titled “Trends in Federal Law, Regulation, and Enforcement, and Their Impacts on Pain Management Practice,” focused on recent federal efforts to crack down on opioid prescribers and decrease prescribing rates, as well as the unintended consequences of indiscriminate supply-reduction efforts on patients with pain. The speakers also discussed efforts from the pain community, advocates, and physicians to raise awareness of the harmful impacts of federal responses to the overdose crisis. The presentation then described several federal initiatives to examine the topic of chronic pain, including the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force and the National Institute of Health’s HEAL Initiative. Finally, the speakers highlighted several legislative and policy approaches of relevance to pain management, including the use of cannabidiol (CBD); the X the X waiver campaign, which aims to relax restrictions on buprenorphine prescribing for opioid use disorder; and health care reform proposals from both sides of the political aisle.