Richard A. "Red" Lawhern PhD                     

An Agonized Death That Didn’t Have to Happen 

By Richard A Lawhern PhD

Dawn Anderson was 53 years old, and a former Registered Nurse.  Her family has granted permission to share the story of her last days.  The story is both horrifying and highly representative of many others in social media, related by surviving family of deceased pain patients.  These are patients who – in effect if not from deliberate intent – have died in entirely avoidable agony because of the 2016 CDC Guidelines on prescription of opioid pain relievers to people with chronic…

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Richard A "Red" Lawhern, Ph.D. is a technically trained non-physician advocate for pain patients, their physicians and caregivers. He has been a social media forum moderator, research analyst and support group leader for over 20 years, focusing primarily in chronic neurological face pain.  He wrote the Trigeminal Neuralgia Fact Sheet at the US National Institutes for Neurological Disorder and Stroke, and the Wikipedia entry on Atypical Trigeminal Nauralgia.   He has recently broadened participation in issues of public policy concerning prescription of opioid pain relievers.  His publications include over 70 papers and articles in a mixture of popular media and medical journals, some as a co-author with medical professionals, plus hundreds of commentaries on published work of others.  Recent work has appeared in Practical Pain Mlanagement, The Journal of Medicine of the US College of Physicians, Pain Week, The American Council on Science and Health, Pain News Network, National Pain Report, and I-Pain Living of the International Pain Foundation.  An archive of published work is available at

Dr. Lawhern's advocacy on behalf of pain patients includes public addresses before the FDA Opioid Policy Steering Committee, two meetings of the Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Pain Management, and interviews  with The Roy Green Show (Canada), The Other Side of Opioids with George Knapp on Coast to Coast AM Radio, and The Doctor Peter Breggin Hour on Progressive Talk Radio.  He is Director of Research for the Alliance for the Treatment of Intractable Pain, advocating for repeal and rewriting of the 2016 CDC guidelines on prescription of opioids in chronic pain.