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This advertisement appeared in the National Review, the The New Republic, the American Prospect, The Nation, Reason Magazine and The Progressive in the fall of 2004.



The Drug Enforcement Administration recently posted new
guidelines on the DEA website to stop the unjustified harassment
and prosecution of pain doctors.


Two months later the DEA deleted the guidelines,
citing unspecified "misstatements."

   No one knows why the DEA suddenly withdrew its own rules — the Agency isn't talking. But it may have been the fact that the guidelines protected doctors from prosecution if they unwittingly prescribed opiates to addicts who deceived them. The government is currently prosecuting several physicians for exactly that conduct.
   Over 30 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. A great many may need double or triple the normal amount of medication — and they are almost always under-treated. These people could legitimately get relief with opioid drugs but they can't find doctors willing to prescribe enough to kill the pain. Taking opioids for pain relief rarely leads to addiction but
physicians fear that prescribing large doses will attract the attention of over-zealous federal agents, a risk that includes lengthy prison terms. So victims of severe accidents, failed surgery, terminal cancer, and the like are often left to writhe in agony.
   Over the last two years the DEA tried to address this crisis, working with medical specialists from the University of Wisconsin's Pain and Policy Studies Group. They set guidelines that would both instruct and safeguard physicians, allowing them to prescribe adequate levels of pain medication without fear of harassment.
   These guidelines or something like them should be reinstated so that no one has to suffer needlessly.

Common Sense for Drug Policy
www.CommonSenseDrugPolicy.org   www.DrugWarFacts.org
Mike Gray, Chair; Robert Field, Co-Chair  717-299-0600


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