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Rudy Giuliani's Position on OxyContin and Pain Management Is Correct

John Riley at Newsday has an interesting piece on Rudy Giuliani's role in helping Purdue Pharma preserve its image after the painkiller OxyContin was linked to widespread abuse. When Giuliani spoke out against medical marijuana, I repeatedly cited his work for Purdue Pharma as evidence of his hypocrisy. While I stand by that position, it should be noted that Giuliani's stance on pain management is actually quite good, in and of itself:
The OxyContin debate has been part of a larger fight in which patient advocacy groups that are worried about historic undertreatment of pain have joined with drug companies to argue against regulatory and law enforcement restrictions on painkillers that might unduly restrict their availability.

Giuliani was a key ally in that debate. He cast himself as an expert because of his prosecutorial background and his experience with prostate cancer. As part of his work for Purdue, he agreed to chair a group called the Rx Action Alliance, which promoted a "balanced" approach that would address abuse but maintain access for patients…

As the DEA continues its misguided war on pain management specialists, it's really quite refreshing to know that a front-running presidential candidate understands the problem. DEA's overreaction to OxyContin abuse has been disastrous, resulting in the reluctance of doctors nationwide to prescribe pain-relievers to deserving patients. Whether it was his prostate cancer, or the money Purdue paid his firm, something has led him to stand up for patient access and there's nothing wrong with that.

The only remaining question is why Giuliani is so hostile to medical marijuana. The fact pattern is remarkably similar: the stigma resulting from widespread recreational marijuana use has created a climate in which legitimate patients are denied medical access to the drug.

If only medical marijuana patients could afford to hire Giuliani Partners, LLC to help improve their public image…

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)


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knock it off hippie....Ive seen Oxycontin ruin 2 lives.

That's completely beside the point...

Of course it can ruin lives. But it can also save them. If you have nerves pinched in your spine, Oxy might be the only thing that makes your life bearable.

OxyContin is for people in horrible pain and it must be available for them.

good grief

So the Oxycontin jumped out of the bottle (that a physician prescribed right) held a gun to those two people's heads and forced their victim into "ruining their lives" eh?

It's called personal responsibility. You make bad choices in life you will suffer the consequences. I don't need the govt regulating every little thing to save me from myself.

I suggest someone deal with pain for a week or two, and walk in someone else's shoes and see how frustrating it is dealing with pain before making such glib statements. It isn't fun when you have to spend thousands of your own hard earned dollars for the co-pays for MRIs, Xrays, spinal injections, blood tests, and a raft of meds the doctors try to get you to use that have zero benefit, all so you can continue getting the barest of minimums for pain treatment. It sucks that a few recreational users ruin it for those people who really do need pain medication and who can at least carry on a semblance of life by taking a drug like Oxy twice a day instead of laying in bed in agony unable to function.

Purdue Pharma

You're missing the point. Purdue Pharma was criminally charged with marketing OxyContin and deceiving physicians and patients saying the potential for becoming addicted or the drug being abused was minimal which resulted in thousands of addictions and deaths. Rudy Guliani was paid simultaneously by Purdue Pharma to play down the abuse and addiction issue of OxyContin and then was paid by the DEA to report on the abuse and addiction of OxyContin. Rudy danced with the devil and lost -- it's called accountability and his lack of ethics as a presidential contender speaks volumes for his character. Maybe Guliani should be teaching ethics at Kean University instead of former Governor McGreevy of NJ. Marianne Skolek

borden's picture

can't trust the government on this issue

Dozens of physicians have been criminally prosecuted by the DEA because of the way they prescribed for pain, in many cases people whom the facts definitely show to be innocent but who got convicted anyway and sentenced to long, hard time. The result -- along with the basic injustice of it -- is that millions of chronic pain patients around the country are suffering from under-treatment of pain if not outright denial of needed medication. For someone in severe pain, this is the equivalent of torture. Marianne's statement seems to imply that the drug Oxycontin just shouldn't be used. That would be a tragic error. I don't know if Giuliani misstated the evidence or not, but I feel that this kind of thinking is causing devastating harm to huge numbers of people. There is a massive crisis of under-treated pain in this country, and the demonization of opiates (including Oxycontin) is a big part of the problem. If Oxycontin is used properly for pain, the risk of addiction to it isn't great. If it gets misused, the risk is greater, but it's not fundamentally different from any other opiate substance, and people who are into street drugs are going to find a way to get their hands on one or another of them. An NIH researcher once told me that the media and many politicians had concluded Oxy was an epidemic killer drug long before any data existed to test that statement either way.

There are many reasons to criticize Rudy Giuliani -- and we certainly have -- but I'm not sure this is a good one (other than the hypocrisy angle it implies for his opposition to medical marijuana).

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

What a joke article

Giuliani never does anything for the right reasons, he just does whatever it takes to make money.

If he did have a soul, he would support medical marijuana without having to be paid to do so.

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