A Senate Judiciary Committee has indefinitely postponed a legislative markup of H.R. 2250, the "Pain Relief Promotion Act," scheduled for Thursday, April 6, according to the Last Acts Policy Newsletter (http://www.lastacts.org). The bill, sponsored by Reps. Hyde and Nickles, was a response to the passage of laws legalizing assisted suicide, authorizing DEA to target physicians who provide opioids (narcotics) for suicide while providing education on pain management to address the problem of undertreatment.
The medical community has been divided on the bill, which some organizations believe would worsen the DEA's impact on the provision of opioid medications for severe, chronic pain. (See our coverage of this legislation when it was introduced last June, "Palliative or Repressive? Conservative-Sponsored Legislation Impacts on Pain, Suicide and Drug Policy Debates," http://www.drcnet.org/wol/095.html#painbill).
The text, summary and status information on H.R. 2250 and any other federal legislation is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
Also according to Last Acts, a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (vol. 283, no. 13) has found that increasing opioid use in pain management does not necessarily lead to an increase in drug abuse. Using data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), David Joranson and colleagues at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School's Pain and Policy Studies Group found "data indicate that there is some abuse of opioid analgesics" but that "compared with... other drugs, ... the abuse of opioid analgesics appears to be relatively low. The study can be found online at http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v283n13/abs/joc90972.html.
Visit the American Society for Action on Pain at http://www.actiononpain.org.