Health and Medical

free government grants for cancer patients

cancer patients

free government grants for cancer patients with severe chronic pain might only be the first step toward treating and ultimately eliminating the scourge of opioid painkillers.

That’s according to a large-scale study released Monday by health researchers in Colorado.

Since 1999, prescription opioids have come to represent about 50 percent of total opioid prescriptions in Colorado, the researchers estimate, making it an “extreme market failure” where free government grants for cancer patients have to be forced to be prescribed a harmful drug to treat a chronic condition that can be managed by a dose of aspirin, for instance.

In an era of increased scrutiny and regulation, Colorado’s approach was to fund nonprofit drug treatment centers to reduce the number of patients on costly, highly addictive painkillers.

In the Colorado Institute for Health Policy study, researchers analyzed the cost and effectiveness of various approaches to lowering painkiller consumption. They then estimated how much funding would be necessary to implement and evaluate different strategies and grant amounts to achieve those goals.


After identifying a combination of $35 million in government grants and $300 million in grants from drug treatment centers to reduce prescription painkiller use, they calculated that, over the course of 10 years, 71,710 opioid-related deaths could be avoided.

These deaths could be prevented in part through a two-pronged approach that focuses on reducing the number of painkiller prescriptions overall as well as reducing the amount of opioid painkillers that are prescribed to treat chronic pain.

Patients who take opioids to treat chronic pain often need multiple doses of the medication to maintain relief. So the study suggests that high doses of the drug could be prescribed only for the few days immediately preceding pain or to relieve discomfort associated with specific medical procedures.


Lokesh Goyal

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