The Rush Limbaugh Oxycontin story has been one of the hottest around in ages. The good news is that it has generated discussion, and perhaps encouraged some of his audience to think about drugs in a way that doesn’t demonize the user or the abuser.
I see two distinct directions this story can travel.
- More discussion. Rush returns and uses his pulpit to push for treatment rather than incarceration for all drug abusers, and calls for an open discussion about drug use. This could be positive. or…
- The Rush story is seized by the DEA and the ONDCP as a propaganda tool to further restrict the legal and proper medical use of opioids for severe pain treatment. In a plea-bargain generated statement, Rush blames lax enforcement and improperly supervised medical community for his addiction and the ease of getting pills, and calls for greater restrictions. This one scares me.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the serious problems regarding severe pain care under the drug war regime. To that information I would like to add this excellent letter to the DEA from Jane M. Orient, Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. It was written back in April, but I just found it today, and think it’s worth reading.