Opioid abuse, voluntary assisted dying, on agenda of annual meeting of pain medicine experts

Consciousness and pain, voluntary assisted dying legislation, and the dramatic rise in opioid abuse and addiction are some of the topical issues to be explored by local and international pain medicine specialists at the annual meeting of the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.
The Transcending pain: ride the next wave meeting being held in Torquay, Victoria from September 22-24 features presentations and research on pain medicine management.
As Victorian and NSW MPs consider voluntary assisted dying legislation a session on the topic on Sunday, September 24 will hear from legal and medical experts including assisted dying advocate Dr Rodney Syme, Professor Danuta Mendelson of Deakin University, palliative care consultant Dr Peter Eastman and pain medicine specialists Dr Suzanne Cartwright and Dr Diarmuid McCoy.
Conference highlights at the RACV Torquay include panel discussions and presentations on developments in pain management techniques and medication-free pain management strategies.
Chronic pain affects about one in five people in Australia and New Zealand and, according to a 2017 Medibank study, costs the economy $22 billion in lost productivity each year.
The Faculty’s keynote speaker is a specialist in clinical neurophysiology, Dr Luis Garcia-Larrea, Research Director at the National Agency for Medical Research, France. Dr Garcia-Larrea’s presentations will focus on pain perception and how specialists can predict and detect neuropathic pain.
Sydney orthopaedic surgeon Professor Ian Harris, the author of Surgery, The Ultimate Placebo: A surgeon cuts through the evidence, will speak at a “ride the placebo wave” session on Saturday September 23. Professor Harris’ 2016 book lists a range of operations such as spinal fusion for back pain, knee arthroscopy, coronary stenting and some shoulder surgery as examples of surgery that he argues may not be effective.
The Dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, Dr Chris Hayes, said this year’s meeting had brought together delegates from a range of specialties.
“The 2017 meeting is an important opportunity for Australian and New Zealand pain medicine doctors to access the latest research and participate in debates that are at the forefront of their specialty,” Dr Hayes explained.
“Pain medicine specialists have an important role in the community and in the healthcare system. We not only treat patients and help them to manage their pain but we also help educate the community about pain and how it is treated.”

Pain medicine specialists serve both as a consultant to other physicians and are often the principal treating physician. The spectrum of care provided by a pain medicine specialist includes prescribing medication, co-ordinating rehabilitation services, performing pain relieving procedures, counselling patents and their families, directing multi-disciplinary teams and liaising with other health care professionals.
About FPM
The Faculty of Pain Medicine is a world-leading professional organisation for pain specialists that sets standards in pain medicine and is responsible for education and training in the discipline in Australia and New Zealand. Pain medicine is multidisciplinary, recognising that the management of severe pain requires the skills of more than one area of medicine.
Chronic pain affects about one in five people in Australia and New Zealand. Specialists also manage acute pain (post-operative, post-trauma, acute episodes of pain in medical conditions) and cancer pain. For more information, please see here.
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