Committed to enhancing health, safety and justice through compassion and understanding

Dr Lynn Webster

Committed to enhancing health, safety and justice through compassion and understanding

About Lynn R.Webster M.D.

Lynn R. Webster M.D. is a physician, researcher, and author.  He earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Nebraska and a residency in the University of Utah’s Department of Anesthesiology. He is board certified in anesthesiology, pain medicine, and addiction medicine.

Dr. Webster is a past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM). He is the author of The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us (Oxford University Press) and co-producer of the video documentary, "The Painful Truth," that has aired on Public Broadcasting stations throughout the United States.

Recent Achievements


In November 2021, my colleagues and I submitted an Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court to support a request to overturn the conviction of Xiulu Ruan, MD.  He was convicted in a lower court of prescribing a controlled substance without a “legitimate medical purpose” and not in “the usual course of practice,” which are the requirements set by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Our Amici argued that Dr. Ruan’s conviction, along with other similar cases involving prescribers, are unlawful. The overarching argument we made centered on intent.

Pain & Addiction


Chronic Pain Stories

Read the stories of people who are hurting the most from the fallout of pain and addiction.

Opioid Risk Tool

The Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) is a
six-question, self-administered tool for practitioners.

Praise for Dr. Lynn Webster’s Work

“We would all do well to heed the call of those forced to live with chronic pain. This excellent book is a very good place to start.”

—The Rev. George Anthony Hoeltzel, Episcopal priest, Yonkers, New York

“As someone who works on behalf of people in pain and who also knows what it's like to experience chronic pain, I highly recommend this book. One of the most hope-filled, helpful books on pain I've ever read.”

Janet Favero Chambers, president, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association

“This book should be read by every severe pain patient and pain practitioner. It captures the essence of our dreams and challenges to bring meaningful pain care to every suffering patient.”

Forest Tennant M.D., Dr. P.H., Veract Intractable Pain Clinic and Editor, Practical Pain Management


The Painful Truth (full-length documentary)

It Hurts Until You Die (full-length documentary)

Latest Blog Post

What are the psychological effects of chronic pain?

This is an article by Casey Bloom. I offer it with the author’s permission for informational purposes. The author and I have no financial involvement. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE HER OWN AND DO NOT REPRESENT MY VIEW OR MEDICAL ADVICE. Chronic pain can disrupt your life both physically and psychologically. It…

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Why “Dopesick” Should Get an Emmy for Fiction

As entertainment, Dopesick is an achievement, but the awards should only be given if the admission is made that the Hulu series is almost entirely fictional.

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The Malevolent Attack on Women

It distresses me to know that, while the original ORT served to help assess the risk opioids posed for individuals, it has also caused harm. Since the question about a woman’s sexual abuse history does not provide any additional benefit, there is no reason to retain it. The ORT-OUD should be used instead of the original ORT.

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CDC Revised Opioid Prescribing Guideline Falls Short of What People in Pain Need

The updated guideline contains beneficial changes. Among them, certain prescription duration limits and the upper MME dosage threshold have been removed. There is some acknowledgment that pain treatment is indeed important. Yet, the inappropriate usage of the 2016 guideline and policies created in its image to harass, prosecute and even jail clinicians must be specifically and adequately addressed. The MME threshold now in the revised version is no more scientifically sound than the ones in the previous version, and it has already been shown that dosage levels are too easily interpreted with rigidity by policymakers and payors. Until these issues are resolved, the fallout has the potential to harm patient care into the future.

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Nursing Shortage With No Solution in Sight

Hospital administrators must balance the financial bottom-line with patient care safety, and it sounds like the nurses interviewed for this video work in environments where the administrators have gone off the rails.

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Why the Pain Community Should Support Voting Rights Legislation

Disenfranchised people are in danger of losing their right to vote, and people in pain are an important constituency. Congress recently passed H.R. 4, which is a revised version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

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Crime of the Century: Addiction Is Not That Simple

Crime of the Century had the opportunity to debunk myths about addiction. Instead, it confuses the terms addiction and physical dependence and propagates misinformation.

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Trading One Crisis for Another Is No Answer to the Opioid Epidemic

This article, in a slightly edited form, first appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on May 20, 2021.   Many years ago, I took on an unforgettable patient (“Jack”) who was on a high dose of physician-prescribed opioids. He wanted me to continue his high dosage. But I was unsure whether the benefit of…

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What HBO’s “Crime of the Century” Doesn’t Tell You

The use of opioids was not a crime then, nor is it today. However, the failure to appropriately treat chronic pain when it is possible to do so should be a criminal offense.

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Consequences of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

In my view, it was a mistake for the CDC to publish the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain in 2016.

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