ON NOVEMBER 21-23, 1996, the first conference designed to explore the connections between pain management and chemical dependency was held in New York City. This conference, which was organized by the newly formed Pain Management and Chemical Dependency Working Group, drew an international audience of 525 physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. They came to fill gaps in their knowledge of pain management and addiction medicine and to take a first step in reversing the long-standing negative effects caused by the historical lack of communication that exists between these disciplines. The enthusiastic response to this initial effort was a strong affirmation of the need for change.
Nature of the Problem
Pain management and addiction medicine are both young and dynamic fields that share a profound concern with the human response to opioids and other potentially abusable drugs.1 In the clinical arena, both pain specialists and specialists in addiction medicine
Portenoy RK, Dole V, Joseph H, Lowinson J, Rice C, Segal S, Richman BL. Pain Management and Chemical DependencyEvolving Perspectives. JAMA. 1997;278(7):592-593. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070084043