Fighting back against the DEA

How the overzealous persecution of pain doctors is harming patients:

Nearly all of the prior cases have followed a similar pattern. First, prosecutors blitz local media with reports of out-of-control prescription drug abuse problems and discuss the problem of “pill mills.” Then, they swoop in with a SWAT team and arrest any doctor brave enough to actually treat chronic pain with doses of opioid medication large enough to work. They call him a “drug dealer” and “pusher with a pen.”

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  • Anonymous

    My husband of 3 years is 52 years old. He suffers from both Fibromyalgia and Diabetes Neuropathy. He lives in chronic pain and this once succesful engineer has suffered in a way that unless you have been there you cannot understand. He too went to doctor after doctor before he found one who was not afraid to treat his pain. He has never had any addiction problem, but they all told us they would not risk his becoming “addicted”, that it would be worse than the pain he was in. It has been amazing the difference in his personality since his pain is more under control. He is just about back to the guy I met 6 years ago. I am so angry and frustrated by the position he found himself in with no one willing to help. Even our beloved family doctor vehemently refuses to give him more than 50mg Tramadol every 6 hours. He is now on a fentanyl patch. Life is good. I would go to war for the doctor who cared enough to treat him. She has given him his life back.

  • WilliamManginoMD

    A good number of convictions have been obtained by “Commingling” the ‘Civil’ standard of care with the ‘Criminal’ standard of care;as mentioned in this article.

    The ‘Criminal’ standard – as written in the statutes [ both federal and state ] requires that the doctor – in order to be convicted – must “Knowingly” issue a prescription to a patient who intends to divert the prescription for a drug sale, or is an addict who does not have a pain condition.

    In addition – in Pennsylvania – the doctor is required to do a physical examination on every patient encounter.

    The doctor is allowed to prescribe pain medications to an addict, if that addict has a legitimate pain condition – even if the patient receives methadone in another clinic.

    The ‘Civil’ standard is used to convince juries that a doctor is guilty if that doctor gives higher than average doses of medication to his patients, has a ‘lot’ of patients, doesn’t order various diagnostic tests, and allegedly violates other nebulous rules such as straying from what prosecutor’s refer to as “World Health Organization” ladders of pain management – which, by the way, were never intended to be used to set public policy or as tools to determine when a doctor can prescribe opioids, or how much to how many patients.

    None of these ‘Civil’ standards are incorporated into ANY statute – state or federal – as a matter of law.

    In addition, the Kansas Supreme Court in Kansas v. Naramore, has clearly gone on record, in the ‘Naramore’ decision, as stating that when there is a difference in medical opinion [ as that difference of opinion pertains to what dose of opioids to prescribe ] “Reasonable doubt exists.”

    In Pennsylvania, and most states, the prosecution team bombards the media with accusations which are often not germane – within the meaning of the statutes. “Expert” witness doctors then testify that the doctor being prosecuted deviated from accepted practice – and the jury usually convicts based on that so-called “Expert testimony.”

    In reality, that is not a ‘Criminal’ standard for conviction. They should have to prove that patients were not examined and that the doctor knew beforehand that any given patient did not have the required pain condition.

    Instead, they keep telling juries that doctors are greedy and ‘profit motivated’ – which sounds good – and usually gets them their conviction.

    Pain specialists don’t have to be profit motivated. So many other doctors are afraid to prescribe opioids that many patients are forced to go to specialists’ in pain because of the “Chilling effect” which scares other doctors away.

    Politically motivated prosecutions of pain specialists adversely affects patients opportunities to obtain necessary pain medicine. In addition, most other treatments have no real long term benefit to patients already refractory to these treatments.

    When the government starts prosecuting doctors who do repeat injections on patients who have no reasonable chance of improvement, and goes after orthopedic surgeons whose indications for performing back surgery are less than noble – along with every “Tom, Dick and Harry” physical therapy outfit that continuosly tells patients that “They don’t need pain pills,” –then, and maybe only then – the public will wake up and cry out against the improper undertreating of pain in our society.

  • Robbie

    I read your article and you cannot believe how frustrated I am. For three years I have been treated for moderate pain due to the fact that my lungs cannot survive the anesthesia that surgery would need. Therefore, I have no other alternative for my pain than taking pain relievers. I moved to Texas about two months ago and still I have not found a doctor that will treat me. I have been told that these physicians cannot write a prescription for Percocet, only a specialist can do that. I have been so miserably in pain that my family has suffered because of it. I finally found a pain management specialist that will see me on July 3, 2006. Therefore, I walk in pain until then. I have cried at this outrage. It’s sad that doctor’s cannot treat patient’s for pain. Does congress suffer from pain? Do they not get the relief that they need? Patrick Kennedy sure didn’t help matters with his idiotic acts, did he? What do we do?

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