In today’s Village Voice: The DEA’s War on Pain Doctors by Frank Owen
Some in the medical community call it “a war on pain doctors,” others “a government jihad” or “state-sponsored terrorism.” However you describe the current campaign, which according to pain-patient advocates began under Janet Reno, but which they say has increased in intensity under John Ashcroft, the DEA’s hardball tacticsÖstorming clinics in SWAT-style gear, ransacking offices, and hauling off doctors in handcuffsÖhave scared physicians nationwide to the extent that legitimate pain sufferers now find it increasingly difficult to get the medicine they need. Doctors’ offices today display signs that say “Don’t ask for OxyContin” or “No OxyContin prescribed here.” And medical schools advise students not to choose pain management as a career because the field is too fraught with potential legal dangers.“The war on drugs has turned into a war on doctors and pain patients,” says Dr. Ronald Myers, president of the American Pain Institute and a Baptist minister who operates a string of clinics for poor people in the Mississippi Delta. “Such is the climate of fear across the medical community that for every doctor who has his license yanked by the DEA, there are a hundred doctors scared to prescribe proper pain medication for fear of going to prison. The DEA is creating a situation where legitimate pain patients now have to go to the streets to get their medication. It’s a health care catastrophe in the making…”…some doctors believe that the DEA, having conspicuously failed to stem the tide of illegal drug use in this country, is coming after physicians to ratchet up the agency’s prosecution count. (This year alone, two federal reviews lambasted the DEA for its poor performance in fighting illegal drug use, one report giving the agency a zero on a scale of one to 100.)
The entire article is excellent, and a real indictment of the policies of the DEA. I have an earlier post on the subject here.
Is there something just a little out of whack with the DEA? They’ve got a public relations problem, so they’re going around in full riot gear busting terminally ill medical marijuana patients, doctors, and bong makers. My suggestion? Next year reduce their budget by $1,897.300,000.