Newsbrief: DEA Pulls Prescription Pain Medicine FAQs Without Explanation 10/8/04

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In a so-far unexplained move, the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Diversion Control Program has removed a set of frequently asked questions and responses designed to ease doctors' fears of persecution by the agency for prescribing opioid pain relievers (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/350/guidelines.shtml). In a quiet notice posted Wednesday, the agency announced that "the document contained misstatements and has therefore been removed from the DEA web site."

It is unclear what the DEA found wrong with the FAQ list. The FAQ, which was released in August, was a consensus statement produced by experts from the DEA, the University of Wisconsin Pain and Policy Studies Group, and Last Acts (http://www.lastacts.org), a national coalition of consumer and professional organizations working to improve end-of-life care through the use of palliative medicine and pain management techniques. The document was controversial within the pain activist community, some advocates from which felt it would further entrench a system in which law enforcers rather than doctors set medical standards.

That debate may now be moot. In its brief, terse statement, the agency said, "DEA wishes to emphasize that the document was not approved as an official statement of the agency and did not and does not have the force and effect of law."

Does this mean the DEA thinks it was too easy on physicians or too harsh? We don't know, but we will inquire and report next week.

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Issue #357, 10/8/04 Editorial: A Tragedy in the Capital | Medical Marijuana Activists Besiege HHS, Demand Rescheduling | Drug Policy and the Presidential Election -- Introduction | The Election I: Bush and Kerry on Drugs: Past Records and Platform Planks | The Election II: Drug Reformers on Kerry and Bush, Nader and Badnarik | The Election III: DRCNet Interview: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader | The Election IV: DRCNet Interview: Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate (repeat) | Newsbrief: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Critical Federal Sentencing Cases | Newsbrief: Needle Exchange Bill Passes New Jersey Assembly | Newsbrief: Protests Rise over Award as Thai Prime Minister Prepares for New Round of Drug War | Newsbrief: Bolivia's Chapare Cocaleros Sign Historic Agreement with Government | Newsbrief: DEA Pulls Prescription Pain Medicine FAQs Without Explanation | Newsbrief: Hemp Crops in Western Australia Stymied By Licensing Requirements | Newsbrief: Atlanta Cops Use Forfeited Funds to Buy Bigger Guns | Newsbrief: No Asset Forfeiture for Misdemeanor Drug Charges, Tennessee Says | Newsbrief: Texas DA Says Doctors Must Turn In Drug-Using Pregnant Women | Newsbrief: Another Killer Cop Walks Free | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | This Week in History | Administrative Assistant: Part-Time Job Opportunity at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar
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