Pain Public Policy

You may remember my September post on Severe Pain Care as a victim of the Drug War.
Some positive steps are happening now.
1. Act quickly. This is very short notice, but I just got the information this evening.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is hosting an important Hill briefing on Tuesday, and they need your help in encouraging your Congressmen to attend. So give your rep a call on Monday morning if you can.
Call the D.C. offices.æThe main switchboard is 202.224.3121. They will patch you through to your members.
It sounds like a great briefing, including 5 groups taking part in the Coalition Against Prosecutorial Abuse (CAPA):
The Politics of Pain Management: Public Policy and Patient Access to Effective Pain Treatments, featuring

  • Ronald T. Libby, PhD., Professor,University of North Florida: “DEA investigation initiatives and funding sources”
  • Rev. Ronald Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder, President, American Pain Institute: “Effects on African-American community”
  • James Martin, President, 60 Plus Association, “Seniors’ and end-of-life concerns”
  • Julie Stewart, Families against Mandatory Minimums
  • William Hurwitz, M.D., J.D., Indicted pain management specialist-McLean, VA: “‘Deserving’ vs. ‘undeserving’ patients?”
  • Jane M. Orient, M.D., Clinical lecturer,University of AZ, Executive Director, AAPS: “Opioid-phobia and reluctance to treat patients”
  • Siobhan Reynolds, Founder & President, Pain Relief Network, “Impact on families and economic issues”
  • DEA Diversion Program (Invited)
  • Moderator: Kathryn Serkes, President, Square One Media Network
More than 48 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health.æRecent high-profile news cases of opioid usage have placed the issue on the front pages, including a debate over dependency vs. addiction, who is “deserving” and who is “undeserving,” of opioid treatment, and whether pain patients should be subjected to different standards of personal scrutiny than others.

The DEA claims drug diversion has reached crisis proportions, justifying increased investigative initiatives that frequently circumvent the Congressional appropriations process. Physicians are prosecuted and imprisoned, and patients sentenced based on pill counts.

Medical research and treatment has made tremendous advances in pain management, but is public policy keeping up?æAnd is law enforcement discouraging patient access to treatment as a result of prosecution of physicians under the Controlled Substances Act?

This distinguished panel will examine the current state of pain management, law enforcement initiatives, patient experiences, economic impact of untreated pain, funding sources, sentencing guidelines, H.R. 3015 prescription drug database act, and solutions for cooperation between lawmakers, regulators, law enforcement and the medical community.

Tuesday, Dec. 16,æ2003, B-338 Rayburn House Office Building, 12 Noon-1:30 pm, (luncheon served)
To register, visit, email Jeremy Snavely at, fax 520.325.4230, or call 800.635.1196 by 12:00 noon, Monday, Dec 15.

2. Start planning now for Pain Relief Network’s March on Washington, April 18-20, 2004

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