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Pain Relief Network's Siobhan Reynolds Killed in Plane Crash

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #715)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Prominent pain patient advocate and Pain Relief Network founder Siobhan Reynolds, 50, was killed in a plane crash on Christmas Eve day. She was one of three people aboard a small private plane attempting to land at an Ohio airport that afternoon. The plane missed the runway and instead crashed on a parallel road, killing all aboard.

For the last decade, Reynolds had been a fierce advocate for patients suffering chronic pain and the doctors who attempted to treat them with high-dose opioid pain medication protocols. She came to be an advocate through personal tragedy -- her husband, a chronic pain patient, died as the family moved cross-country seeking effective relief for him.

But Reynolds turned her personal tragedy into activism of the highest sort, founding the Pain Relief Network to advocate for an effective response to the under-treatment of pain in this county. She was present for the trial of Northern Virginia pain management pioneer Dr. William Hurwitz, a trial I attended and where we first met. Hurwitz was convicted of being a drug dealer and imprisoned, an injustice that only deepened Reynolds' fire for justice.

She and the Pain Relief Network played a central role in winning freedom for Richard Paey, the wheelchair-bound pain patient sentenced to 25 years in state prison, and that was just one of her many interventions in the DEA's war pain doctors. Where the DEA saw only "pill mills" and Dr. Feelgoods, Reynolds saw the effectiveness with which high-dose opioid theory brought relief to suffering people.

Her feisty and tireless advocacy brought her into direct conflict with the DEA and federal prosecutors, most notably in the case of Kansas pain clinic owner Dr. Steven Scheider, who was charged with over-prescribing pain pills, and his wife, Linda, a nurse who was charged along with him. When Reynolds set up shop in Kansas to publicize the case and the issues and lend support to the Schneiders, Assistant US Attorney Tanya Treadway opened a criminal investigation into Reynolds and the Pain Relief Network, seeking, among other things, all of Reynolds' email, phone records, and other communications with doctors, patients, and attorneys.

As always, Reynolds fought back against the feds, and, in a shameful episode in American jurisprudence, she lost -- and worse. Not only was she forced to comply with Treadway's subpoena, but Treadway and the federal courts conspired to hide the whole sordid episode from public view. The ruling in the case has never been published, nor are the briefs available for scrutiny. Reynolds was even barred from sharing the briefs she submitted with the press.

That ruling was the last straw for the Pain Relief Network, which Reynolds announced was being dissolved a year ago. But not for Reynolds. I spoke with her earlier this year, and she was planning to form another pain advocacy organization. It is our loss that she never got the chance.

Siobhan Reynolds wasn't always easy to work with because she was a true believer in her issue. She was impatient with potential allies who were not willing to go as far as she was, whether they were physicians groups or academics or drug reformers. She wanted the Controlled Substances Act abolished as an abomination, and if you weren't ready to go there, she didn't really want to waste her time with you. But sometimes a movement needs a determined, fiery-eyed idealist. Siobhan Reynolds was that person for the movement against the under-treatment of chronic pain.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Rick (not verified)

Siobhan AND her lawyer die in a plane crash?  Kevin was one of the most careful pilots I have come across after 13 years as an Air Traffic Controller and ATC Instructor.  Clear day and moderate crosswinds at the airport of intended landing.  Sure,I'm biased, but nothing about this feels right.  I knew her briefly and was overwhelmed with her strength of character and determination.  Anybody with ties to Siobhan would be welcome to contact me.  Be well.  

Mon, 12/26/2011 - 10:48pm Permalink
Ian MacLeod (not verified)

In reply to by Rick (not verified)

I agree, Rick - it stinks. The PRN website (the old one, on the Web, not just on the Net) is still active, if barely. Another Administrator and I tried like hell to get it going again, but it's just been limping along with lots of Pakistani "Ugg boots" salespeople and two or three new members. I was a member and moderator for a couple of years there, while I was caring for a dying wife. I've been a chronic pain patient for 29 years. I'd be glad to talk with you. Sign in there, I guess, and we'll get together.



Tue, 12/27/2011 - 2:44am Permalink
Kara Rowe (not verified)

In reply to by Ian MacLeod (not verified)

We have got to pick up her fight!! I am beside myself that this whole situation has been slinking along behind the back of American citizens. Little did most people know that after years of receiving their pain meds they would show up for their appointment to be told they could no longer have the amount they needed to live. Now, don't get me wrong cynics... I know there IS a HUGE problem facing our country but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is highly immoral, wrong, hurtful, insaine, LAZY and so forth. I believe we can find a solution without leaving people suffering in severe pain. There is No scientific proof that cancer pain is worse than non cancer pain and the group PROP or Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing is being plain lazy as they try to imprint on history as being the ones that saved us all from the plight of abuse and diversion. The Substance Abuse Act is outdated and needs to be completely overhauled before folks start killing themselves at more than alarming rates. I say more than alarming because I read one stat that suicide among chronic pain sufferers rose 14% after one particular cut back on pain meds. Opiates are the ONLY medication that work for my pain with NO side effects that effect the quality of my life. Why should I continue to be forced into more surgery, have horrible drugs with terrible side effects put into my body and forced to take steroids when a simple pill 5 to 6 times a day allows me to live!!?? We must pull ourselves out of the dark ages before it is too late. I see this thread is old but if you come back here please contact me any time. I will be looking for you all. God bless and god help us all.
Sun, 03/22/2015 - 4:17am Permalink
Kara Rowe (not verified)

In reply to by Rick (not verified)

Dear Rick, I remember when the PRN was first founded. I was going through a terrible time with pain and trying to find the relief I so desperately needed. Siobhan was so very kind and supportive to me via email. My story is too long to share via this venu but I would more than love to speak with you via email or whatever. This fight needs to be picked up where she left off. I will do anything to be the one to do it. Have you heard of PROP? The group of physicians that is calling for the FDA to no longer allow narcotic relief to non cancer pain patients etc.? They must be stopped. I am just now learning of her death and I am drowning in my tears! I feel terrible that I didn't stay in touch with her for very long. I find it hard to believe her crash was an accident! I am currently building a FB page and plan to build a website for people in chronic pain to meet and chat. I also plan to write letters to all government officials involved in this horrible situation to let them know this whole thing is wrong. I await your email. Kara
Sun, 03/22/2015 - 1:35am Permalink
Callum Yeater (not verified)

It sounds like her death was planned. The DEA had to have a hand in it. They are already starting their suicide warfare to win the war on drugs

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 12:23pm Permalink
Anonymous3 (not verified)

How come conservatives never die in plane crashes?  Anyone else wondering that?


this poor woman had POWERFUL enemies

Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:23pm Permalink
Traumanurse (not verified)

I have done at least 100 hair-raising flights in both rotor and fixed wing and most in terrible NW weather. None compared with this crash or I would not be writing today. This bizarre landing with the Legal counsel of the organization and it's leader was made into a crime scene by local police until over-ruled by Feds. It is not unthinkable that the DEA and other agencies they share their booty with are terrified that their source of uncontrolled and Congressionally unappropriated monies from seizing pain physicians' assets without due process (before trial or conviction) would be jeapordized if people like these heroes are allowed to live. I am not alone in suspecting this was not pilot error.
Thu, 02/23/2012 - 2:11am Permalink
DEA victim (not verified)

In reply to by ImnotaTanyaFan (not verified)

Oh, Yes!  The DEA has declared war on law-abiding US citizens who use and NEED pain medications to get through the day!  They have caused many patients (seniors included) to go through the TORTURE of abrupt detox because they cannot obtain their legal pain medications.  They can't win against the criminals, so they are attacking the most weak and vulnerable citizens.  Not that much different than the government of Syria attacking their citizens.  And they seem to have been able to shut the media up, too!


By the way, I had a life until August 3, 2012 when I was denied my prescribed pain meds that I have used to keep my life for the past 10 years with no problems!!  I am a law-abiding senior citizen, NOT A DRUG ABUSER, CRIMINAL OR THREAT TO MY COUNTRY!!!

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 11:33am Permalink
Anonymous2 (not verified)

In reply to by DEA victim (not verified)

My cutoff date was January 11, 2013 after 25+ years of successful pain maintenance at the same doseage level, building and running a successful business, training a nephew and a grand nephew to take over upon my retirement. I am a U.S. Army veteran (Regular, not draftee) and have been a law abiding citizen my entire life. Now, due to my Dr's understandable fear of prosecution and asset forfeiture, I must figure out a way to continue to function, as best as I may, without the pain mitigation which has allowed me to function, build and maintain my business for a quarter of a century in spite of a veritable "laundry list" of injuries incurred in my trade, sports, traffic accidents and the the aggrevation of all these brought on by old age (70 is too much closer than 65 for my liking). When I recall the oath I took upon enlisting, a half a century ago, and what I now see happening, my gorge rises. My condolences to you, sir.

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 1:30am Permalink
Glock 27 (not verified)

In reply to by DEA victim (not verified)

My current Dr. verified a few months ago he received a letter from DEA said he had to cut meds. Contacted my Fed Rep and he said they implied they had no authority to cut meds, but FDA did because of acetomiphine.  My meds were cut again without my knowledge and I am forced into a six day detox.  Let me tell you it is no picnic.

Wed, 12/02/2015 - 5:16am Permalink
An American An… (not verified)

In reply to by ImnotaTanyaFan (not verified)

hello tanya fan the folks in the g o v  , after years of making fun of the "whack  jobs" , have admitted that, ....

----- wait for it...   wait for it....   they helicopters in their operations ... that are painted semi flat black and equipment includes but is not limited to Noise Canceling systems and infrared radar. oh yeah did i mention that they are painted Flat Black.  if you enjoy your freedoms. you can't put your head in the sand and call someone a nut case for voicing a possibility that some, even in the government has gone too far in the name of one thing or another. after all there are literally Millions of people working in government. it is dangerously naive to assume this sort of thing can't or doesn't happen from time to time. as you offered the author of the last comment the invitation to a Life and a hug. I will offer you an education and a hug as well not meant to anger anyone just open a somewhat closed mind. if you think that the scenario laid out in that comment is Not possible, May I recommend a great stock broker. his name is Bernie Madoff, he's a consultant to the SEC he makes a steady 20 % return on all of your investments. Plus he works with the government, He Must be honest.  do you see my point here?

oh yes your name implies that you are a fan of the woman that prosecuted the Dr. involved in the plane crash?

same Tanya ? just wondering.


Better Days....

Tue, 03/12/2013 - 4:16pm Permalink
Anonymous Jay (not verified)

In reply to by ImnotaTanyaFan (not verified)

The only stupid response. People like you are why people like me in severe constant intractable pain have no right to a life, liberty, or happiness. I have had 3 failed spine surgeries. After #2 I was in 10 times the pain. When I told the quacks about extreme level of pain they said ''you should not be'' that's educated idiots for you. We are always right. They have a test for everything but pain level? Yes there are blood test that they all don't know about. Enough said. Just read the constitution, bill of rights, then ask yourself some serious questions. DEA only picks the losers.
Fri, 03/15/2013 - 2:28pm Permalink
FAnonymous (not verified)

I came to this article after watching the documentary film "High: The Tale of American Marijuana". Those who have seen the film will know I felt compelled to seek out Pain Relief Network. I was going to donate money if possible and it appears the answer is no. I have never condoned irrational delusions of any kind but…the hairs on my arms stood up after reading the first sentence. I want to be clear about the fact that I have no corruptive input from any source about the political/legal history between the Drug Enforcement Agency and this woman. I simply viewed the film until the Pain Relief Network segment, then did a Google search when the website homepage came on screen. That is the entireity of my interaction with this information. I quite obviously had an autonomic response to inputting the information of Reynolds and her lawyer's death, specifically a sympathetic nervous system response (you know, the part that has nearly five MILLION years of evolutionary craftsmanship of the famous "Fight or Flight" responses in the body. It's the deepest rooted of all survival instincts the human brain has developed. Primal at its most prime.). Her AND her lawyer??…why did I have a sympatho-adrenal response (a "sirens going off" kind of thing) when I read "all aboard died"? I have only pure speculation due to my temporary ignorance of this complex story but…the only other time I've had a response like this was when I had a gun held to my head.
Mon, 11/26/2012 - 5:33pm Permalink
Aaron Gorton (not verified)

i am so glad i knew this woman briefly....i have house-sat and took care of her and kevins animals while they were gone on this trip.....we sadly and reluctantly had to leave the day b4 xmas eve when she and kevin were returning home cause of ride issues....and we (my girl crissi and i) were so pissed that we couldnt be there to see them b4 we went home....but if we woulda stayed we wouldnt have seen them anyway because the govt silenced her for good!!! this smells of the awful and evil that she was fighting....till her death which was a tragedy!!! xmas has never been the same for me since!!....i cryed for her this xmas!!!

Sun, 01/12/2014 - 6:32pm Permalink

I spent half a day chasing painkillers at hospitals for this woman blocked from getting those substances due to past "overuse". We did finally secure them at the third hospital of the day. All I could think after that was " welcome to the torturedome". To hell with Raygun/Bush and their criminal Nazi drug war. Lyle Courtsal
Thu, 05/14/2015 - 2:03am Permalink

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