According to a review by the health watchdog and reported by the BBC, advanced cancer patients and sufferers of conditions marked by extreme pain are not receiving the strongest pain medication due to stigma associated with prescribing and taking medications such as morphine, oxycodone, diamorphine (heroin) and other opioids.
Opioids either come from the poppy or are synthetic variations of the drugs. According to the report, doctors are not prescribing them even in cases where they are supposedly need to help limit the chronic pain patients are suffering. The lack of prescriptions of the strong medication has been attained doctors fearing their toxic and potentially addictive nature on top of public opinions suggesting that opioids are only prescribed in extreme treatment or in the final stages of life.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) have commented on the review suggesting that the misinterpretations about prescribing or using opioids for pain management have resulted in significant ‘under-dosing and avoidable pain.’
Problems arises due to the fact that the use of opioids can be toxic to the body, they can cause addictions and are extremely costly for the NHS to prescribe. Therefore, more national resources need to be allocated to both treatments and preventative measures that are not harmful, will save the National Health Service money, but more importantly, provide patients with control over their own symptoms of pain.
Mindfulness Meditation was first used to manage chronic pain by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the early 1980’s since then there has been numerous empirical studies supporting its efficiency in helping individuals deal with chronic pain. It is a cost effective, non-toxic, self-empowering means of dealing with chronic pain.