123. Opioids and Chronic Pain

Jul 07, 2020, 08:30 AM
Rethinking long-term pain management 

This edition of Airing Pain has been supported by a grant from Kyowa Kirin.

The opioid crisis reached its peak in the United States in 2017, where addiction and overprescription have led to 218,000 deaths from prescription overdoses between the years of 1999 and 2017. The side effects of opioids can affect the day-to-day activities of people managing long-term or chronic pain, yet society as a whole has yet to fully evaluate the relationship between opioids and addiction. 

In this edition of Airing Pain, producer Paul Evans talks to two leading pain specialists. First off, Paul Evans meets with Dr Srinivasa Raja, who discusses opioids effects on the body’s opioid receptors and how the human body processes pain. Dr Cathy Stannard then talks about the increase of opioid prescriptions in the UK and how the opioid crisis in the United Kingdom developed.

In the second half of the programme, Paul speaks with Louise Trewern, a chronic pain patient and patient advocate, about opioids’ detrimental effect on her quality of life and how she was able to transition towards more effective methods of chronic pain management.

Finally, Paul sits down with Dr Jim Huddy, a GP in Cornwall, who explains how the medical community is re-evaluating the relationship between opioids and chronic pain.


  • Dr Srinivasa Raja, Professor of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA 
  • Dr Cathy Stannard, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Pain Transformation Programme Clinical Lead for NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Louise Trewern, Vice Chair of the Patient Voice Committee at the British Pain Society
  • Dr Jim Huddy, Cornwall GP and Clinical Lead for Chronic Pain at NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group.

More information:

With thanks to:

  • The British Pain Society (BPS), who facilitated the interviews at their Annual Scientific Meeting in 2019 - britishpainsociety.org
  • The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) iasp-pain.org.