"In this book, I will argue that lack of adequate pain control is one of the most urgent health problems in America. In my research over the last five years, I have interviewed nearly 200 scientists and physicians, as well as countless patients, a few lawyers, and a handful of government officials...
I have found that there is an appalling mismatch between what people in pain need and what doctors know. Pain is the main reason that patients go to doctors, but most doctors know almost nothing about it, much less how to treat it. Doctors get only a few hours of pain education throughout four years of medical school. Even veterinarians get more.
The government, specifically the National Institutes of Health, the country's premier research establishment, isn't much better. It spends only about 1 percent of its vast budget on pain research, despite the fact that chronic pain is now considered a disease in its own right and is a bigger problem than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Indeed, federal spending on chronic pain is actually going down.
Culture wards over prescription pain relievers play into all this, too. I discovered that opioids (narcotics) are like airplaine food -- not great, but hard to get enough of when you're in need..."