and enduring. The immediate recommendations are those the committee believes should be initiated now and completed before the end of 2012. The near-term and enduring recommendations build on these immediate actions, should be completed before the end of 2015, and should be maintained as ongoing efforts. Table 6-1 presents the recommendations in these two categories, along with the relevant actors and the recommendations’ key elements. (Note that the numbering scheme used in Chapters 2 through 5 is preserved here.)

The committee wishes to emphasize that the comprehensive population health-based strategy set forth in Recommendation 2-2 should inform actions taken in response to, or consistent with, all of the other recommendations. The strategy should be comprehensive in scope, inclusive in its development, expeditious in its implementation, and practical in its application. Most important, the strategy must be far-reaching. As evidenced in this report, pain is a major reason for visits to physicians, a major reason for taking medications, a major cause of disability, and a key factor in quality of life and productivity. Further, pain costs the country $560-635 billion a year according to a new, conservative estimate developed as part of this study. Given the burden of pain in terms of human lives, dollars, and social consequences, actions to relieve pain should be undertaken as a national priority.


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