Action Requested, Dear American Pain Foundation (APF) members,


senior member
Concord, NH

APF is asking you to help us put a stop to erroneous and unbalanced reporting by taking Action Now!

On January 27, USA Today published two articles by Gregg Zoroya, Generals Story a Warning about Use of Painkillers and Up to 35% of Wounded Soldiers Addicted to Drugs. It is critical that factual information about pain and its management be available to active duty personnel, veterans and their family members. It is alarming when members of the media continue to publish biased, inaccurate and fear-mongering articles.

Improvements to body armor and battlefield medicine save more lives in our military than ever before; unfortunately, many men and women in our armed forces who survive come home with persistent and painful injuries. In fact, tens of thousands of military personnel will return over the next few years, many of whom will struggle with pain.

While abuse and misuse of prescription pain medication is certainly a problem that can have tragic consequences, Mr. Zoroyas article has the potential to do great harm to members of our military and possibly hinder access to effective pain care for all.

Mr. Zoroya:

Incorrectly and interchangeably used the words addiction and dependence. Addiction is a disease characterized by preoccupation with and compulsive use of a medication despite physical or psychological harm to the individual or others. Physical dependence is characterized by biological changes that lead to withdrawal symptoms (e.g., sweating, rapid heart rate, nausea) when a medication is discontinued. There is a clear difference between addiction and dependence. See page five:

Stated that 25% to 35% of about 10,000 soldiers assigned to units for the wounded are addicted or dependent on drugs, but failed to include proper citation and clarification on this statistic, including what drugs the wounded have become naturally dependent on compared to those where incidence of addictive disease has become evident. This lack of clarity only confuses readers and instills fear about pain medication.

Provided a biased opinion of opioid medications as highly addictive with significant potential for abuse without even once explaining that all medications carry risk and that unless an individual has a past or current history of substance abuse, the potential for addiction is low when opioid medications are appropriately prescribed and taken as directed. Mr. Zoroya failed to mention that opioid medications when prescribed and taken as part of a multi-modality pain management plan can be helpful in managing moderate to severe persistent pain and have restored the quality of life of millions.


Now is the time to demand more from national publications such as USA Today. We must put an end to this type of one-sided and poorly researched journalism. We ask you to join us and submit a letter to the editor and an online comment to USA Today:

Stating your outrage at one-sided reporting that only perpetuates the stigmas and stereotypes about people with pain,

Explaining how, when pain is properly treated, your life or the life of someone you know has been restored to some sense of normalcy,

Encouraging USA Today to do a follow-up story that includes interviews with leading pain experts who are qualified to speak about pain and addiction, and

Reinforcing that people in pain including those who serve our country in the armed forces have a right to timely and effective pain management, regardless of people who abuse or misuse pain medication.


1.Submit a letter to the editor via email to Letters should be 250 words or less. The letter must include your name, phone number, city and state so USA Today can contact you for verification. Your contact information will not be included if your letter is printed.

2.Submit your online comment here. Follow instructions on how to sign in to leave your comment.

Please share this email with your family members, friends, colleagues and health care providers and ask them to respond. Dont forget to post this on your Facebook wall or send a tweet to your followers on Twitter.

Feel free to send copies of your letters to APF at

Thank you for your help together we continue to conquer pain!

American Pain Foundation

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