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August 20, 1997

Pain Management and Chemical Dependency: Evolving Perspectives

Author Affiliations

for the Pain Management and Chemical Dependency Working Group
From the Pain and Palliative Care Service, Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (Dr Portenoy); Rockefeller University (Drs Dole and Joseph); New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (Dr Joseph); and Beth Israel Medical Center (Mss Rice and Segal and Dr Richman), New York, NY.

JAMA. 1997;278(7):592-593. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070084043

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

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