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05 November 2005

if he had been in pain, I would have given him Lethe

Perhaps the most wretched and vile of all the aspects of America's neverending War On Drugs is the federal government's ferocious and cruel threats and initimidations against licensed physicians whose patients -- dying or just trying to live -- writhe in pain and scream PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING FOR MY PAIN!

The lead federal agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and recent Justice Departments, have practically eliminated the recent medical specialty of Pain Management by throwing physicians in prison for a decade or more, or, more easily, by yanking the prescription-writing federal licenses of physicians whom they deem have been too generous with effective narcotics.

The message of the DEA and Justice Department to all citizens writhing in torment: Suffer, you fucking junkie bums.

The government attack on American physicians has been almost entirely successful. Nearly every American physician is terrified to prescribe effective opiate analgesics. When the prescription-writing license is yanked, a physician may still be an M.D., but his/her professional activities practically vanish forever. The physician suddenly becomes no more effective than a nurse or paramedic.

Almost. Apparently The War On Merciful Physicians just suffered a bit of a setback.

A faint beam of Mercy and Humanity seems to have shone on the majority of members of the House-Senate legislative conference. They heard the shrieks of pain of their voters. They heard the anger and outrage of family members.

Chronic unmanaged or unalleviated pain is a common cause of suicide in America. People in physical torment just want to die.

Oxycontin/Oxycodone is a recently developed and marketed pill containing a concoction very similar to heroin. It's quite clever in its Time-Release mechanism. When used as intended, it effectively manages chronic or post-surgical excruciating pain better than almost any previous pharmaceutical prescription.

Naturally, thanks to The War On Drugs, a criminal underground market, with built-in inevitable violence, immediately sprung up around Oxy. When the Time-Release mechanism is defeated by crushing the pill and snorting the powder or shooting up a solution, the resultant high is commonly described as heroin-like, but much better and more intense.

Devotees first sprung up in the rural sections of the Southern Appalachians, places like Tennessee and West Virginia, and gave Oxy an instant nickname: Hillbilly Heroin.

In the 33 years since Nixon founded the DEA, Congress has increased its budget every year.

* * * * *

The Washington Post (Washington DC USA)
Saturday 5 November 2005
Page A13


by Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer

A House-Senate conference committee yesterday dropped a controversial provision that gave the Drug Enforcement Administration authority to review, and potentially block, the sale of all new prescription narcotics.

The legislation, promoted by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and attached to a multi-department appropriations bill, passed last year with little notice. But this year the Food and Drug Administration, many drug makers and doctors who treat pain patients objected to renewing it, and the provision was stripped from the bill.

Opponents said the provision was an unwarranted intrusion by a law enforcement agency into the FDA's drug-review system. Pain specialists also said the DEA reviews could jeopardize development of new drugs needed by patients with chronic pain.

Wolf's spokesman, Dan Scandling, said that Congress had missed an opportunity to better control the sale of powerful new narcotic painkillers.

"The goal behind it was to prevent another OxyContin," he said, referring to the popular painkiller that has been subject to abuse. "Now that oversight isn't going to be there."

John Scofield, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the provision was dropped at the request of the Senate, which did not include it in its version of the appropriations bill.

The dispute over the measure, and the almost $50 million in additional DEA funding attached to it, reflect a wider debate over the DEA's proper role in monitoring the use of prescription painkillers.

The agency has arrested scores of doctors, pharmacists and other health-care workers accused of negligence or willful diversion in dispensing prescription narcotics that were later abused. Pain doctors complained that, as a result, many physicians have stopped prescribing needed painkillers.

The same conference committee also approved language proposed by Rep. Anne M. Northup (R-Ky.) that would bar the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative from including provisions in future trade agreements that would make it almost impossible to import prescription drugs from foreign countries. The last three agreements -- with Singapore, Australia and Morocco -- included language that barred importation of
drugs even if the practice were legalized in the future.

Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)

Copyright (c) 2005 The Washington Post Company


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