On Tuesday, September 15, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and health care reporter Caitlin Owens hosted a conversation on the state of medicine and chronic pain, exploring how policymakers and professionals are approaching responsible long-term pain management, featuring Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Arthritis Foundation President & CEO Ann Palmer and Director of the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institutes of Health Dr. Linda Porter.

Rep. Burgess discussed the difference between Congress addressing the opioid crisis in 2017 and its failure to reach an agreement on the COVID stimulus.

  • On the opioid crisis response in 2017: "[That was] the way Congress is supposed to work. This was the legislative process being built from the ground up rather than top down."
  • How COVID-19 has exacerbating existing problems around resources in health care: "The downstream effects [are] disrupted cash flow for hospitals, medical practices, clinics. All of that has sort of compounded the chronic problems of lack of adequate resources."

Dr. Porter highlighted the effect of the pandemic on patients who experience chronic pain and discussed the recent spike in opioid overdoses:

  • On chronic pain during the pandemic: "If [patients] stop or slow treatments, their pain can get worse. Pain can be exacerbated by depression, which I think, given the isolation has been a big factor for people during COVID."
  • On patients struggling with opioid use disorders: "The rate of [opioid] overdose has vastly increased since COVID started...It's harder for [patients] because there may be a loss of jobs, a loss of income. And so all these things begin to contribute even more so to their opioid use disorder."

Ann Palmer unpacked the many ways that chronic pain impacts everyday life for patients.

  • "Pain prevents people from participating in life, may lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and the comorbidities associated with that, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure. It certainly leads to sleeplessness, and thus fatigue.

Thank you Pfizer & Lilly for sponsoring this event.

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Sep 15, 2020 - Health

NIH director: Access to opioid addiction treatment is lagging in the pandemic

Axios' Caitlin Owens and Linda Porter, director of the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institutes of Health.

Opioid overdoses have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, Linda Porter, director of the Office of Pain Policy at the National Institutes of Health, said on Tuesday during an Axios virtual event.

What's happening: People with opioid-use disorder have had "an extremely difficult time" getting medical treatment or behavioral therapy during the pandemic, Porter said.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 30,065,728 — Total deaths: 944,604— Total recoveries: 20,423,802Map
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Scoop: How the Oracle-TikTok deal would work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An agreement between TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance and Oracle includes a variety of concessions in an effort to make the deal palatable to the Trump administration and security hawks in Congress, according to a source close to the companies.

Driving the news: The deal, in the form of a 20-page term sheet agreed to in principle by the companies, would give Oracle unprecedented access and control over user data as well as other measures designed to ensure that Americans' data is protected, according to the source.