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January 2004
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A pain-full administration

From Alternatives, in Salem Oregon, check out an important editorial about pain medicine: Chronic Pain – The Hidden Epidemic by Rick Bayer, MD.

While the science of pain control has progressed, the politics of pain control remains in the Dark Ages.

This doctor’s editorial particularly takes the current administration to task for their drug policies and what that means for suffering patients:

To fix the problem of untreated and under-treated pain in chronically ill patients, we must vote out the Bush/Ashcroft party and re-examine our nation’s War on Drugs. What are we gaining besides over-funding the doctor-busting narcotics agencies while laying off police who actually protect us from violent criminals? Why are we willing to sacrifice civil liberties, healthcare, education, a clean environment, and solid infrastructure in a self-destructive pursuit of a “drug-free America”? We need drug education and drug treatment–not another war.

We can no longer be passive when drug warriors threaten the practice of compassionate scientific medicine and make the chronically ill do without necessary medication. For the compassionate, I ask you to inform yourself, contact your representatives, and vote. For those who need more convincing, I ask you to consider that anyone is only one accident away from a life with chronic debilitating pain.

My current favorite editorial line…

Oh, it’s good to be the king. You float high above the law and plunder your subjects with impunity.

Yesterday’s Rocky Mountain News skewers the DEA and their arrogance for disobeying a judge’s order to return marijuana and paraphernalia to a medical marijuana user.

“The feds can’t just steal the marijuana and therefore make it federal property,” [attorney Kristopher Hammond] said.

But they try, and they convince local law enforcement officials that even they don’t have to obey Colorado law.

As Hammond puts it, “It’s no secret that the federal government claims to be for states rights – until the states do things they don’t like, such as enacting a medical marijuana statute.”

He’s asking the judge to cite the DEA with contempt. We hope the judge does just that. If he doesn’t, or if the DEA brushes off the citation as if it were a gnat, perhaps Hammond should try again in federal court.

Even if it isn’t found in contempt, the DEA is clearly guilty of violating the old mob dictum: “Never steal anything small.”

60 Minutes transcript now online

You can now read the entire transcript from the 60 Minutes program on mandatory minimums: More Than They Deserve. A sample:

“Judges throughout the country, of all political persuasions, feel that they have to have discretion so that they can do justice in the individual cases,” says Martin, who is resigning from the bench.

[…]

Goose Creek’s Principal McCrackin Sent to His Office

The Associated Press announced that Principal George McCrackin of Stratford High School in Goose Creek had resigned (see my original story). Several hours later, the AP headline was revised to a indicate that he had been “reassigned”…

Following a November drug sweep in which police with guns drawn ordered Stratford High students to the […]