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letters | challenges in painkiller policy

As with addiction, chronic pain is epidemic too

I was delighted to see two terrific stories on pain in Monday’s paper — the front-page story by Christopher Rowland (“Groups unite against curbing painkillers”) and the g section cover story by Deborah Kotz on children’s pain (“Pushing past pain”). Far too often in recent years, the press has focused almost exclusively on the problem of opioid, or narcotic, addiction and far too little on the far bigger, silent epidemic of chronic pain in both children and adults.

Both stories were fair, balanced, and realistic about the challenges faced by people in chronic pain — 100 million American adults, according to the Institute of Medicine. Chronic pain is actually a bigger problem than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined, yet it is often overlooked.

It is wonderful to see the Globe giving this problem the attention it deserves.

Judy Foreman

The writer, a former health columnist at the Globe, is the author of “A Nation in Pain.”