DEA Feeling the Pain

The DEA’s war on pain doctors got a facelift today as explained in their ironically titled press-release “Working Together: DEA and the Medical Community”.

From DEA.gov:

Today, DEA is unveiling a proposed rule that will make it easier for patients with chronic pain or other chronic conditions, to avoid multiple trips to a physician. It will allow a physician to prescribe up to a 90-day supply of Schedule II controlled substances during a single office visit, where medically appropriate. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is accompanied by a policy statement, “Dispensing Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain,” which provides information requested by medical professionals regarding DEA’s position on this important issue.

It’s nice to see the spirit of cooperation take hold at DEA, but recent history tells a different story. I’d bet the average pain management specialist feels less like a partner here and more like the groom at a shotgun wedding.

Indeed, this is a not-so-subtle attempt to smooth over the public relations nightmare that has resulted from the agency’s relentless harassment of pain management doctors:

Also new today, DEA is launching a new page on its website (www.dea.gov) called “Cases Against Doctors.” Everyone will be able to see for themselves the criminal acts committed by those few physicians who are subject to prosecution or administrative action each year.

The Cases Against Doctors page reeks of insecurity on DEA’s part, suggesting that widespread criticism may have affected Karen Tandy, who’s usually numb from heavy doses of self-righteousness.

Update: USA Today and Washington Post have the story. Both note the hostile relationship DEA has fostered with the medical community. Washington Post describes the regulations as an unambiguous concession to the medical community, which has generally gotten the cold shoulder from DEA on this issue.

Still, to the extent that DEA has capitulated here, it probably has more to do with last month’s reversal of the Hurwitz conviction than any sudden recognition that maybe doctors have useful ideas about how to define legitimate medical practices.

Location: 
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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abandoned by my doctor & can't find one

I've have degenerative disk disease, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, several herniated disk. I've had these chronic pain issues for over 15 years. It has put me on disability. It's caused me so many problems. I've tried almost every thing out there but nothing helped me except pain medication. I had a doctor who was treating me with pain meds & I was just getting my life back & hoping to get back to work. I go hungry many days & can't pay for my basic needs. I'm now 51, single & no one to help me. My doctor decided for whatever reason to move from NC to FL with very little notice. Now, in Laurinburg, NC I can't find a doctor at all so far. No doctor will write pain meds & are afraid to do so. I will get violently sick without the meds. It can cause death to abruptly stop certain medication. It's true that one's body will become dependent on pain meds but it beats the heck out of suffering needlessly in pain. It improved the quality of my life so, so much. Just like someone with diabetes or any other illness that requires life sustaining meds, I require pain meds to control the tremendous pain that I have. I don't know what to do. The 'medical community' around here seem to have a 'sneering & non-caring' attitude about people with chronic pain. They are refusing to accept chronic pain patients. I just am at the end of my rope & I can't live like this.

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