Thursday, September 23, 2004

Pain management and the DEA

What is wrong with our priorities?!?! Forget for a moment the colossal failure that is the drug war, and the billions of dollars wasted, the rights trampled on and lives ruined for a moment. What is going on with doctors and patients with chronic pain, and the DEA is truly obscene. The link above comes from Radley Balko (, and is a disturbing look at an increasing trend. I encourage reading the links in his story as well.

Basically, because the DEA wants to crack down on illegal prescription drug use/sales, what is happening is that doctors are afraid to prescribe appropriate doses of pain relievers (vicodin, oxycotin, etc.) for fear of being prosecuted as a drug dealer, or losing their medical license. Meanwhile, patients in blinding pain every moment of their lives are either under prescribed the medication they need, or are cut off completely after a few refills. They are left with the option of "doctor shopping" or buying the pills illegally, making otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals. Prosecutors and politicians have no problem prosecuting these doctors and patients, because, hey, they're just addicts and pushers, right? And, because of mandatory minimums, a judge with common sense doesn't even have the ability to impose probation on people convicted of these "crimes". The government is criminalizing medical care, at the expense of people in need of real medical help. God forbid, something happens to you that causes you massive chronic pain. You might just have to suffer or kill yourself.

But it's ok when Rush pops pills, right?


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