Pain Medicine: Kansas Doctor Fights Back, Attacks Federal Prosecution and Controlled Substances Act as Unconstitutional

Lawyers for a Haysville, Kansas, physician facing a 34-count federal indictment alleging he acted as a drug dealer in prescribing pain medications fought back last Friday, filing in federal court a motion to dismiss both the indictment and federal Controlled Substances act (CSA) as unconstitutional. Attorneys for Dr. Steven Schneider argued that federal prosecutors in Wichita improperly claimed authority over the regulation of medicine.

Schneider and his wife, a nurse at his Haysville clinic, were arrested in December amidst great fanfare from prosecutors, who referred to the general care, ambulatory, and pain relief clinic as a "pill mill" and asserted Schneider was "linked" to 56 deaths. They remained in jail held without bond until last month, when they were finally released pending trial.

Schneider is only the latest of dozens of physicians arrested and tried by federal prosecutors over their pain medication prescribing practices in recent years. With the DEA and Justice Department prosecutors asserting that they know best medical practices and willing to arrest doctors whose practices they disagree with, the field of pain relief medicine has been plagued by the tension between the imperatives of pain relief and those of drug control.

Schneider and his lawyers want the government out of the doctor's office. "This case is an effort by the federal government to define and regulate the practice of medicine masquerading as a criminal prosecution," wrote Schneider's legal team, which includes nationally known specialists. "This case should not be about whether Dr. Schneider fell short of the standard of care for certain patients, but whether he engaged in the legitimate practice of medicine."

Schneider's medical conduct should be a matter for the state medical board, not the federal criminal apparatus, the lawyers wrote. "All of the accusations against Dr. Schneider and Ms. Atterbury [Mrs. Schneider] revolve around matters of medical science, professional judgment, and evolving standards of practice. However, by seizing on widespread ignorance and hysteria surrounding the use of opioid analgesics in the treatment of chronic pain, the government has endeavored to shoehorn these matters, which bear no relevance to criminal culpability, into the rubric of drug dealing and health care fraud. With regard to the charges related to the Controlled Substance Act ('CSA'), the sole question should be whether Dr. Schneider was a drug dealer 'as conventionally understood.' Instead, the government confounds this question with irrelevant facts and improper standards."

The CSA is unconstitutional on its face as "impermissibly vague" when it comes to providing guidance for physicians and as applied in this particular indictment, the lawyers argued. "As applied in the Indictment, the CSA fails to adequately and meaningfully inform physicians of what conduct is proscribed, largely because such conduct is arbitrarily and unilaterally determined by enforcement authorities lacking knowledge and expertise with respect to issues of medical science and ethics."

No word yet on when a ruling on the motion is expected. But the direct attack by the federal government's drug war apparatchiks on pain doctors and the patients they serve has now provoked a counterattack aimed right at the drug war's jugular vein.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Hooray

Finally, a real argument against the drug war! We need many more of these arguments based on Constitutional principles to be used in courts of law.

I suffer every day because of this problem

I have no problem admitting that I suffer from advanced AIDS, Neurophthy, Post-herped-ic Nurology, Nerve Disease secondary to the AIDS Virus & toxic medications, & back pain's.

I am CONSTANTLY on the look out and desperate for a Doctor willing and able to take that chance to manage my Chronic pain without fear of the DEA !

My Medical record's measure about two foot high, I have been diagnosed with severe chronic, retractable PAIN, I have been hospitalized 8 time's nearly died twice, haveing AIDS is truely painful all the time, regardless I have had Doctor's push me off to another Doctor MANY time's simply because I require pain medication's, believe it or not I respect their decision simply because I understand their fears of the in-humen act's from the DEA !

MY OWN Doctor's fear writting me the nessissary AMOUNT'S of controled drug's for my pains' in fear of a back lash from the "DEA" ! so I continue to suffer a life in pain with absolutely no quality.

Can't Legislator's/ Law maker's see that we have a BIG problem concerning situation's such as my'n ? Diabetic's and Cancer patient's suffer in lack of proper pain management as a result of {unlawful} reprecussion's from the DEA police as well.
Who will hear me, who will act, who can I run to for help, who will take that chance to manage my pain, ! I

Countless time's Doctor's refused to take me on as a patient do to the fact that they know I will require pain management with opiod's, it's more simpler for them to just push me off to antoher Doctor who's typically in the same situation {DEA FEAR} it's time to correct and punish the DEA !

When I recently went on vacation and my pain meds were due to run out, my Doctor refused to refill them for me, his exact word's were "I don't believe i'm even allowed to do this for you out of state, therefore I need to see you to give you a new prescription," So it cost me $1,600 dollars to fly 1200 miles back home pay for a hotel and other expenses just to renew my mothly PAIN MEDS !

Six month's ago I went to my Aunt's funeral, she died from Cancer, as I looked at her in her coughffin I woundered how she must feel now that her pain is gone, it was a conforting thought at that moment just knowing someday my pain will be completely gone and no more suffering. If it wernt for the pain I could live a life with some quality.

My own Doctor doesn't give me level of pain management I require however I respect & clearly understand their fears' because through my experiance and extensive research I can attest that as long as our Legislator's allow the DEA to interfear with a Doctor & patient's care { such as the recent arrest of Dr, Schneider in Haysville } myself and other sufferers' will continue to suffer horrible painful diseases'
.
I pray that the LAW'S change or I die first, atleast in death I will be at rest & suffer no more pain.

Unlike many other's I refuse to resort to street drug's to manage my pain !

Medical professional's went through hard long schooling to get their Medical License ! they took an oath to treat the sick, they have a job to do so let them do it !

I pray for the the recently Doctor { Dr, Schneider } who was arrested in Mississippi on May 22, 2008 for alledgelly over prescribing his patient's, If they request I will be their as their witness in COURT and ready to blow the whistle !

Will someone please start a petition to change these awful law's- to keep the DEA out of the Medical field and to leave it to the Medical professional's.

My email is [email protected] where do I go from here ?

Respectfully Vinnie.

no pain help

I too am suffering from under treated pain. They just keep telling me to take more methadone. I've had chronic pain at different levels since a car crash that left me on life support and in a coma for 2 weeks. As I said I am on methadone for chronic pain in my left hip that radiates to my knee that if the sharp charliehorse type pain stops for an hour or so God willing, I am so sore I cannot move. I broke both hips, both legs numerous ribs as well as brain injury.Pain was managable until I woke up 14 days ago in agony, could not walk due to pain. I've been in bed since then eating so many motrin I bleed from my rectum when passing stool.

After my crash and finally being released I continued to tell them I was in severe pain. They said it was in my head, sent me to pain management tried to make me walk because the sorry surgeon said I'd been in the wheel chair too long. It took 4 painful months before my Physical therapist found out my other hip was broke.

Once again I get no pain assistance. At least when my hip was broke I could lay on my back and find relief. Not this pain. I tell you, I cannot take this crap too much longer. I know why people resort to doing the unthinkable now.

Thank God my neighbor gave me 10 5 mil. percocets. I have to take them 2 at a time but it helps me manage the pain. I still cannot walk more than 30-40 feet without having to sit. Even sitting hurts. Laying down gives me little relief. I have to urinate in a urinal bucket do to not wanting to cause my pain ti increase.

I've been to the ER, Pain Dr. will not give me another script and cannot see me for another week. I went to a fast track ER and they cannot do anything because I am at a pain management. Went to surgeon, went to MRI in serious pain and cannot get a result until Monday. God if the MRI doesn't show anything I am not sure what I am going to do!

I HAVE NO LIFE!!! All because no one will give me a damn pain pill. I even started thinking about drinking. I am a 47 year old male and hate alcohol!! I can hold my nose!

God bless all of you going through what I am going through and worse. Maybe we'll meet on the other side1

Sincerely William

Unconstitutionality of Statutes

I have been telling people for years that ALL DRUG LAWS are unconstitutional for several years. I don't understand why more Lawyers and Legislators aren't attacking the the statues on this basis. Finally, some other people and organizations are coming out. It doesn't take a law degree to understand the issue: simply ask why it was necessary to amend the Constitution in order to have alcohol prohibition.

Eric Schell Berkeley ca

for money!!!! duh. it doesnt

for money!!!! duh.
it doesnt take a banker or a lawyer to figure that one out.

does anyone here understand WHY they would amend anything from the constitution to create a new law?

for MONEY!! does anyone know how our monetary system works? Why we have a 'central bank' (the Federal Reserve)?
Do you know why settlers created their own 'tax free' 'interest free' currency when they moved to the 13 colonies?

its all about MONEY!!!! :) DO SOME RESEARCH!!! I have, and I can send it if you want to know how f'd up OUR country has become. haha... our country, thats funny.

I say it again

There are many good arguments for ending the drug war, but few mentions of the principle reason to end drug prohibition: I, as an adult, have the inherent human right to ingest anything I want.. it is MY body, my body belongs to ME, not to the govn't.

DEA Fascists bust Asian clinic in Biloxi, Mississippi

It is time for the medical community and all people of America to unite and demand an end to America's fascist drug war. This latest fascist bust in Biloxi just happened May 22nd, 2008. America has the largest prison system in the world. The drug war is how the Republican and Democratic fascists are maintaining slavery. They do it by using prison labor as a free labor source. May we toke in peace and freedom!!

false accusation

I agree with you. The doctors who were arrested and put in jail without bond are my sister and brother-in-law. They have always had a good reputation in the community and are totally dedicated to their patients. Their practice was not a pain clinic. He was a family doctor and she was a pediatrician and internist.
They served the poor and disadavantage in Mississippi, mostly Vietnamese.They did not see 200 patients like the DEA alleged. Their patients were not drug addicts.Most of them have never gotten any pain meds.They did not even prescribe CII. Their patients had legitimate medical problems like hypertension, diabetes, asthma.arthritis, GI probems, infection.... This is preposterous. Please speak up and help them.

anti drug war

I have often wondered if we could sue the government for unjustified restriction of personal freedom. They would have to justify in court why alcohol and tobacco can be ok and marijuana is not. An argument they most certainly lose! I keep writing my rep in congress, Goeff Davis to co sponsor barney frank's bill and add an amendment to include cultivation , sale and taxation. He would be making it possible for Kentucky to supply marijuana to the other med marijuana states. A potentially billion dollar business for which the farmers and citizens would be erernally grateful.
Sorry I got carried away with practicallity!!

Get government out of our pain management

Probibition of drugs will be no more effective than it was for alcohol. They will always be around, no matter how hard the govenment tries to 'clean the streets' But goverment has no business whatsoever meddling in the medical profession, telling doctors how much of what they may prescribe, and how much pain relief a patient is entitled to. That is a matter that needs to be handled solely between the physician and the patient. If there is to be any regulating done, as I'm sure there will have to be in some cases, it should be handled by a competent medical board comprised of physicians familiar with pain treatment. Our government has trampled our rights in too many areas already, as Bush was proportedly quoted saying " the Constitution is nothing more than a scrap of parchment". Well, the Constitution is a lot more than that, it guarantees our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - pain free. The Gestapo strategies our government is using to entrap doctors and innocent patients needs to be stopped. One way to do this is to bring it to the publics' attention, but we all need to fight for our inalienable rights to live our lives with proper medical care. That includes sufficient pain management. I hope cases like this soon blanket the media, and the public will stop the autracities our government has gotten away with in the past, and is still getting away with. Busting cocaine and heroin kingpins is one thing, busting doctors for trying to comfort their patients is something we can't allow in this country.

Pain

I am one of those who is in pain from work injuries and the only thing that helps me is Marijuana.It not only helps releave the pain,but it also helps me to get my appetite back,with out it I do not have any hunger.If this Dr. can help me that would be great. Let the Dr. alone and reform the Medical Laws.

Best of luck

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada Here in Vancouver we had a witch hunt in the eighties and all doctors who were trying to help people with chronic pain were stripped of their right to prescribe all manner of drugs.Ever since it is impossible to find a doctor that will deal realistically with significant pain issues.We found a black list from the early 90's and there were so many doctors with restricted privileges that it was hard to imagine there being many doctors that even had the right to prescribe.Doctors here are absolutely terrified of the college.My current physician is always asking me to go to meetings at NA so he can justify giving me what he does.This in spite of a specialist that says I'll be on opiates for the rest of my life.That's the kind of disconnect that exists under prohibition.What I am currently being prescribed is less that what I had left when I did my morning fix.The wash.I had this delusion that I would be a perfect patient for a heroin maintenance trial as I had a legitimate medical need.Boy was I wrong.I know what this couple is up against and they will have a very hard battle.People in the area should be helping as much as possible but when your doctor is busted it's all you can do to get through the day without cutting your wrists.All the best to them.

solid legal argument

this case is about doctors not really the drug war per se. doctors have a unique role/standing within CSA & this is what the lawyers are arguing.

I suspect they'll cut a deal or drop the charges before letting this move forward. Too much for DEA to lose.

The doc's lawyers sound real strong.

support

IS THERE AN ADDRESS TO SEND SUPPORT FOR THIS LEGAL DEFENSE?

Govt finance, state and federal

We all understand that no government agency has the right to imprison us for what we choose to put into our own bodies. Our legislators, state and federal are so afraid of the minority of voters who mightvote against any candidate who speaks sensibly---but how about the increasing cost of prisons and incarcerations at a time when state andfederal budgets HAVE to be reduced?
With the drug war the major factor in the prison boom, how can anyone support this kind of deficit spending?xosvu

Donations to Pain Relief Network

Donations to Pain Relief Network, to support the Kansas cases and other legal actions planned for later this year, can be made electronically from this secure page:
https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=18671

or checks can be mailed to:

Pain Relief Network
518 Old Santa Fe Trail, Ste #1 Box 519
Santa FE, NM 87505

Phone: 1-877-473-5434
Fax: (505)995-6201
Email: [email protected]

We are hitting on all cylinders, but running on fumes. Contributions right now are so very appreciated and needed.

Thanks in advance!

..alex...
[email protected]
Alexander DeLuca, M.D., MPH
Senior Consultant, PRN
http://painreliefnetwork.org

All Drug Laws Are Unconstitutional

All drug laws are unconstitutional. That includes laws against any kind of recreational drug, any prescription drug and any law restriction the use of legal drugs by age.

Why did it take a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw the use of alcohol, but not to outlaw the use of any other drug?

To whom does our bodies belong, ourselves or the government? As long as we allow the government to tell us what we can and cannot put into our bodies, we belong to the government. We are not free.

Our Constitution has been hijacked!

Kevin Schmidt

kevin, if you want to see

kevin, if you want to see something that will explain our freedom, let me know.

[email protected]

our Constitution is being more than hijacked.....

our freedom is little more than slavery

question for Kevin

What about in the case of people who have committed real crimes with real victims under the influence of a drug, currently legal or otherwise? After any jail sentence imposed is finished, would you be comfortable with often putting restrictions on their future right to use drugs? I am.
Mike

GOVERMENT AND PAIN CONTRL

THIS IS WHY POEPLE BUY DRUGS FROM THE STREET YEAH GOVERMENT IT,S MUCH BETTER TO GET OFF A 16YEAR OLD THAT YOU DON,T KNOW WHAT YOUR GETTING AND THE KID SELLING HEROIN WHEN A DR COULD BE TREATING YOU UNDER A DR,S CARE 8 YR,S AND MORE TRAININING OR THE GOVERMENTS YEAH THE GOVERMENTS DOPE, IF THEY LET THE DR,S PRESCRIB THEN THE DRUG DEALS CAN,T BE ON THE STREETS AND THE COPS CAN GET THERE FUNDINGTO FIGHT THIS FAKE,FAKE WAR ON DRUGS!!!!! LET OUR DR,S ALONE THE GOVERMENT CAN,T EVEN PASS A LAW WHERE WE SHOULD GET OUR DOG BONES FROM... GOD HELP US THIS ISN,T THE USA BUT THE USSR!!! 8 YR,S TRAINING AND THE NUTS THAT MAKE THE LAWS HOW LONG WAS THEY THERE AND WHAT STUDY DID THEY DO NOT 1 I ASSURE YOU!!THE DEA GO,S TO ALL OUR DR,S AND TELLS THEM NOT TO GIVE OUT PAIN PILLS AND I GOT A WHOLE COUNTY THAT THE DR,S WILL TESTIFY ABOUT THESE 12 WEEKS THE COPS TAKE TO BE A KNOW IT ALL TELL8 YRS PEOPLE HOW TO DO THERE JOBS WE NEED TO FIND OUT WHO SUPPORT THE LAW AND VOTE THEM OUT WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE

I injured my left shoulder

I injured my left shoulder several times in 2009 to the point of impingement. I went to the ER since I couldn't handle the pain anymore after the last injury where the car hood was about to fall or at least I thought it was falling and I over-extended my injured arm. The doctor took an x-ray, which didn't show anything due to the inflammation of soft tissue surrounding my shoulder joint. The doctor said it was Tendinitis, gave me 12 Loritabs, Narpoxen, and the nurse abruptly put a sling on my arm without even showing me how to use it, how long to wear it during the day... she was rude. Four days later, I went to my primary doctor. He gave me Robaxin, took me out of work for two weeks, and physical therapy to help heal it. My doctor doesn't prescribe anything over extra-strength Ibuprofen. I already have Narpoxen, which is an anti-inflammatory just like Ibuprofen after so many mgs. I didn't need my stomach bleeding anymore then what was already happening with the Narpoxen. For two and a half weeks, I struggled with pain so excruciating that I couldn't eat or sleep (I lost 8 lbs over the holidays), and prayed every hour for my next dose of Robaxin to be sooner, which is two every 12 hours. It takes the edge off. By the second time I went to PT, my movement had lessen even with the exercises I was doing everyday, and ice. Finally, my doctor sent me to an orthopedic specialist. I had an appointment in a week, and he took me out of work for another two weeks. Then I slipped and fell in the snow on my right shoulder, and my reflex made me use my left arm to break the fall about a week ago. I went to the ER due to the intense pain. They took another x-ray, and found nothing again, however the PA prescribed 20 Vicoden taking 1 to 2 pills every four hours. My appointment with the orthopedic doctor was four days later. I told her about my injuries, and made the joke about how I should be wrapped in bubble wrap. We talked about the two x-rays and physical therapy. She said I had a bone chip in my shoulder which has torn my rotator cuff. I told her my doctor won't give me anything for the pain, and she said she doesn't either unless she preforms surgery. She said she gets ppl in all the time telling her their primary doctor won't give them anything, then she prescribes, and the pharmacy calls and tell her that the person already has a prescription for pain pills. I told her about the pills the doctor gave me at the hospital and the dosage. She said she would give me 20 Loritabs, but no more and if I wanted more, I would have to go to the ER to get them. The she proceeded to wrench my arm forward, and upward passed 90 degrees, which it's painful after 50 degrees, then to the side, and then towards the back, continuing even after I balked. By the time I left, I wanted to puke due to the pain, and I had an awful headache. She gave me 30 pills, and an appointment for a MRI. Go figure. I don't understand how I can have a legitimate health issue, and can't get proper health care so I can get back to work.

Good story. Pill mills are

Good story. Pill mills are becoming a huge problem all over the country. This is especially the case in Broward County, FL where pill mills are more prevalent than McDonald's:

http://www.sunherald.com/2010/03/01/1992155/pharmacist-goes-on-trial-in-...

BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This pain med war is just a bunch of BULLSHIT........ I have 3 bulging discs in my back and the pain is unreal but yet all i can get around kansas is glorified aleve and it is pissing me off severely!!! a bunch of god damn junkies ruined it for everyone!! Its not the doctors fault that there are dumb asses out there that overdose on these meds and then start a court case against the doctor that gave it to them. So now the people that really need them meds have to suffer in pain because doctors are too scared to give them the meds that are really needed because they are afraid they will lose there licence. I don't know who is more at fault at this the government or the junkies tryin to get it. Never the less this is a very cruel to the people who need them.

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