Print Friendly, PDF & Email
CDC Draft Updated Opioid Guideline Released

On February 10, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its draft updated Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids.

Control of chronic pain is an integral part of managing mitochondrial disease. For some, life is made bearable only by long-term opioid treatment. Unfortunately, a 2016 “Guideline” on opioid prescribing from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), caused immense suffering by greatly reducing access to opioids to those who need them, resulting in injury and death. There is finally good news! A pending update to the CDC Guideline promises to overturn the worst elements of the 2016 language. We have a short window of time to give Public Comment in support of this ground-breaking proposal.

Although important questions remain open, overall the proposed revision, if adopted and put into practice, would greatly improve the health and lives of mito patients and others with chronic pain

The proposed Guideline contains what the drafting committee calls “clarifications” that have the potential to radically change the practice of opioid dispensing in the medical field.

This new Guideline is a draft. The CDC is accepting comments through April 11, 2022. The CDC must review and consider all the comments they receive as they finalize the Guideline, so we encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences! Based on the comments they receive, the CDC will make edits to their current draft to develop the final Guideline. This final Guideline will replace the 2016 Guideline.

We also encourage you to speak with your Senators and Representatives in Congress about the damaging impact that the 2016 Guideline had on people with pain.

This input is essential to make the CDC authors and policymakers understand how urgent this issue is to people with pain, and to communicate the specific changes we need them to make before the rule is finalized.

Your comment should express your views on the updated guideline. You can also share your experience related to the 2016 CDC Guideline or accessing treatment for your pain in general.

Please remember when sharing personal experience that anything you say will become part of the public record.

Here are some tips and sample talking points, but you are not limited to comments about these points:
  • Introduce yourself: who you are, where you live.

  • Talk about the things you like in the updated Guideline, and why those changes are important.

  • Talk about the changes you don’t like, and what you’d like to see instead.

  • Talk about the harms that have occurred as a result of the 2016 Guideline, and whether you feel this update will address them.

  • Talk about your personal experiences. (For example: Did your doctor taper you down or off your medications? Did your doctor abandon you? Did your insurance refuse to cover your opioid prescription, or did your pharmacy refuse to fill it?)

  • Be brief but specific. If you feel comfortable, mention your diagnoses, how your medication helped you to engage in life activity, and what activities were prevented when you lost access, if you did. (For example: “I have MS. With medication, I was able to garden, cook for my family, and even travel. After my medication was denied, I am bedridden at home.”)

  • Talk about things you like or dislike about the process the CDC used to update the Guideline. (For example: Did you unsuccessfully try to participate in their public meetings? Did you have a difficult time trying to find information about how to provide input?)

  • Talk about the other things you do to manage your pain and the role opioids play, if they do, in your pain management plan.

Comments must be submitted by April 11, 2022 at 11:59pm. All submissions must include the agency name (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Docket Number (Docket No. CDC-2022-0024). You may submit in any of the following ways:

Note: All relevant comments will be posted, without change, to regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. 

For further information: 

The CDC has provided a contact person, Arlene I. Greenspan, for those needing further information. Ms. Greenspan can be reached at:

Note: CDC does not accept formal comments about the Guideline by email. Comments must be submitted by one of the methods above.

It is also very important to make sure you contact your member of Congress with your concerns.  We may well need their support! Please reference the above Comment Guidance when thinking about what to say.

  • Call your Members of Congress. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (voice) or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.

  • Write to your Members of Congress. You can find your Senators’ contact forms at senate.gov and your Representative’s contact form at house.gov/representatives.

  • You can use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters by texting “RESIST” to 50409 and following their instructions.

With all comments to the CDC or Congress, please remember that comments that are respectful, concise and specific are more likely to have impact.

And thank you, because things won’t change without your valuable input!

The content for this page was provided by the National Pain Advocacy Center.