Comprehensive Overview: Patient and Support System education and support prior to opioid based pain management (chronic or acute).

Proverb:  It’s easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened.

(Or, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”)


Increasing education and awareness, pre-opioid prescription, will increase realistic outcomes for patients, support systems and clinicians.

The InvisionHealth Foundation will be taking the lead in education activities regarding understanding the ramifications and effects of short and long term use of opioids as part of a comprehensive pain management program.

Studies show that depression and chronic pain often go together. Chronic pain can cause or worsen depressiondepression can lower a person’s tolerance for pain.  There are solid results with cognitive behavioral therapy, a practical approach that helps people identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that contribute to their unhappiness.

Through interactive cognitive-behavioral therapy, patients will work with professional therapists and peer educators (who have been prescribed opioids) prior to receiving opioids.  The first session, of a multi-session experience, will be prior to their entering into a pain management program (short-term surgical recovery or chronic pain management).  There will be an accompanying cognitive-behavior therapy group for the support system of the patient as well.


Patients who will be prescribed opioids for pain relief (acute or chronic) will have better results with additional education and support on the short and long term effects of opioids and related pain prior to initiating the pain management plan of action.  A lack of education, early on, may be indicative of the escalation of abuse of opioids that began as part of pain management. Most patients simply want to be pain free and do not envision themselves as succumbing to addiction.

InvisionHealth Foundation will be looking to reduce the potential of opioid abuse through education, research and awareness.  Using cognitive-behavioral therapy over multiple sessions, the Foundation will provide patients and their support systems a fuller and more realistic expectation of pain management that includes opioids.

Education within a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic setting with trained therapists and peer educators who have used opioids (short and long term) will provide a fuller understanding on their treatment. These multi-session groups will be based on actual therapeutic/educational approach and not “supportive listening.”  Education and cognitive-behavioral therapy will also be for the patient’s support system using the same model at the patient center group.

There will be two (2) separate groups in this InvisionHealth Foundation initiative.  One cognitive-behavioral therapy group will be patient centered. The second cognitive-behavior therapy group will be support system centered. The groups will be scheduled for six sessions.

The patient centered and support system groups will have a therapist with experience in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Additionally each group will have three (3) “non-members” who will share what it was/is like for them to be on opioids (for the patient based group) and three (3) “non-members” who will share what it was/is like helping someone who is using opioids as part of their pain management. These “non-members” will be modeled after peer educators.

The three (3) non-members/peer educators in the patient centered group:

  • One will be a surgical recovery/acute pain with limited exposure to pain meds.

  • One will share about how long-term use for chronic pain was a journey…but is helping to make life meaningful again.

  • One will share about the addiction they suffered and the long road to recovery.

The three (3) non-members/peer educators in the support system group:

  • One will focus on what it was like helping their patient use opioids and recover from the short-term pain with no addiction issues.

  • One will focus on what it is like providing care for someone who uses opioids to regain some level of a pain reduced life.

  • One will focus on the negative effects on their patient, such as abuse or addiction.

Support systems are rarely educated on the effects of opioids.  There is also lack of education on what to look for regarding side effects or other negative outcomes to the medication for those that are playing the “supportive role/care giver”. This is the “forgotten” individuals who will be caring for someone on opioids and perhaps chronic/life-long pain.

In addition to the effects (physical and mental) that opioids may hold, other areas of pain will be covered in all groups.  Examples of discussions topics regarding things that may cause an increase in pain:  Depression / Stress / Insomnia / Gender / Brain / Exercise Levels

Please help InvisionHealth Foundation implement a program that deals with the challenges of opioids for the patient and their support system by donating today.

Preventing the abuse of opioids is part of the InvisionHealth Foundation goals and objectives.

It is much healthier to educate specific populations before there is a problem.  The challenge working with children and their parents is how to fully engauge both populations so a dynamic and sustained conversation continues long after the educational experience.

Educational training regarding the use and misuse of opioids is not a topic many parents or children look forward to hearing.  Most often the topic is targeted to either and adult population or a youth centered presentation. Neither has a component that involves both populations within the same presentation.

InvisionHealth Foundation will create and facilitate presentations to these two distinct populations. The Foundation will market the program to local Parent Teachers Associations (PTA), Girl Scout troops, Boy Scout troops, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc…

Presentations will have a component just for adults while, simultaneously, there will be a presentation to the youth.  Each presentation will cover the range of topics that involve the purpose of opioids and the negative ramifications that are created when prescription opioids are not followed/abused.

Both groups will come together at the end of the seminar to share what they have learned.  This will create the beginning of a dynamic conversation that will continue beyond the seminar. Too many times parents receive information and then attempt to share with their children. Many

times their children are not receptive or are unable to understand the complex topics. Other times the children may think that their parents suspect they are doing something wrong/illegal. When children learn the realities of opioids and the potential for abuse, they rarely share with their parents. This seminar will give them the platform to share information they each just learned in a safe environment.

Please consider joining InvisionHealth Foundation to introduce this dynamic concept to Western New York with your contribution.