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Hurwitz Prosecutor Caught Up in US Attorneys Controversy

good riddance, let us hope We have not previously commented here about the US Attorneys firing controversy (or scandal, depending on how one looks at it) -- mostly because drug policy has not come up in it -- partly because we assume that both the people who got canned and the people replacing them are all all likely to be serious SOBs from our point of view. For example, it was one of the firees, San Diego's Carol Lam, who prosecuted medical marijuana provider Steve McWilliams, an act that ended in McWilliams' suicide. Readers who have followed the pain issue will doubtless be interested to know that the guy who prosecuted pain physician Dr. Hurwitz, Paul McNulty, and who was responsible for the infamous withdrawal by the DEA during that prosecution of the pain FAQ it had worked together on with doctors and other experts, is in serious hot water. McNulty was the US Attorney for eastern Virginia at the time, but was subsequently promoted to the #2 spot at DOJ. According to his official bio he played a key role in abolishing parole in Virginia in 1994. McNulty's name has come up on and off within the firings matter since early on, but until this evening it seemed like he might survive it and quite possibly become the next Attorney General. But things have shifted again in this fast-changing story. According to the Politico, in a story filed at 9:06 EST:
Republican sources also disclosed that it is now a virtual certainty that Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, whose incomplete and inaccurate congressional testimony about the prosecutors helped precipitate the crisis, will also resign shortly. Officials were debating whether Gonzales and McNulty should depart at the same time or whether McNulty should go a day or two after Gonzales.
Let's hope the reporting about McNulty at least is on target. Whatever the cause for his career's abrupt ending, it will be a good thing. McNulty's actions in the Hurwitz case caused incalculable damage to the cause of pain management with opioids for patients who need it -- effectively he caused large numbers of pain patients to be tortured through denial of medication or under-use of it. Having met Dr. Hurwitz a number of times, and counting a number of his former patients friends, I could be biased about that -- though his conviction has since been overturned due to the trial flaws that prosecutors and the judge created. But I think McNulty's instigation of the withdrawal of the FAQ demonstrates objectively that he is willing to attack the rule of law itself if it suits his purposes. No tears shed for this guy's career, none deserved -- good riddance to at least one really, really cruel, unethical and dishonest prosecutor.
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You go, Dave!

I couldn't agree more. I wonder what the job future is for these disgraced Republican prosecutor types. Do they join law firms and do criminal defense for the kinds of people they previously persecuted? I wonder even if they need the work, they have the temperment to counsel accused persons?

Make 'em pay

Unfortunately, there are always career opportunities for shameless liars with no values or beliefs.

Legalize Drugs Starve The DEA simple solution!

Legalize drugs and cut off the profits that go to DEA and Thugs involved. End street dealing of drugs. End violence. Stop the WitchHunt. If people are going to do drugs they will do drugs whether we have DEA or not. Make them legal. If you want to abuse drugs and kill yourself this is your choice. We don't have to over pay some idiots to bust people for posessing/buying/abusing drugs. If they made cigarettes illegal you would have to double the DEA strikeforce costing American tax payers billions more. Why spend the money on this? Put the money into programs that will fix this corrupt system and take care of people instead of helping these thugs profit on both ends of the fence!

Sorry to say, we will just keep electing these money hungry morons into office and give them the power to treat us like a heard of sheep, driving us to illegal street drugs to mask our pain instead of prescription medications.

DEA and Pain Doctors

Good riddance to bad trash as far as McNulty, but he is only one amonst a whole cave full of vampire bats. Recent cases involving the DEA (Wedgewood Pharmacy, United Prescription Services, Dr. Thomas Merrill) and my own (see Pain Relief Network/Clinical Litigation to access my Appellate Brief-Paul H. Volkman, M.D.) make it perfectly clear that the DEA is a vicious, criminal organization with absolutely no regard for the letter of the law, their own case precedents, the rulings of the Supreme Court, or any citizen's Constitutional Rights. Least of all the ability of 50 MILLION pain patients to obtain pain medicine legitimately without having to buy it on the street. That is actually the crux of the matter. Every one of the above cases shows the DEA doing whatever it takes to cut off the ability of practitioners, pharmacies, or distributors to legally provide controlled substances to those with a legitimate, legal, medical need for them. Pain patients with a desperate need for pain medicine in order to function in their daily lives, or even to survive at all, who cannot obtain pain medicine legitimately through their doctors terrified (or put out of practice and in jail) by the DEA will have to buy pills on the street. One of my former patients, a policeman injured in a squad car accident who had 3 failed back surgeries, told me he spent $1000 a month buying pain medicine on the street. That suggests that the market for illicit pain medicine is over $300 BILLION per year!! In the Wedgewood brief, attorney Flannery comments that the actions of the DEA to put Wedgewood out of business would actually result in more diversion of controlled substances, not less! Flannery got it right: the DEA actually wishes to promote drug diversion, not stop it, because the DEA is a ruthless mob that runs the illegal drug business, taking a healthy cut of every street drug sale! Doctors who prescribe pain medicine and pharmacies that fill pain prescriptions cut into the DEA's core business and are therefore attacked and put away, after bogus charges and sham show trials are held.

There needs to be a huge angry outcry by 50 million pain patients and the appointment of an Independent Prosecutor to clean out the stinking septic tank housing the DEA and its daddy DOJ.

Hey Doc

I have been through much the same thing you have. The public has no idea what is going on and the DEA could not withstand the outcry you call for. The marketing machine that represents the War on Drugs has been the only success the War on Drugs has had. That apparatus has so successfully demonized pain meds, patients who need them and docs that prescribe them that it is hard for the courts to actually see the law clearly through all the marketing BS. The confusion of the legal and civil standard, admitting 2nd and 3rd-hand hearsay based on no documentary evidence would never be stood for if it were not concerning "drugs."

Speak Against DEA in April - Get Indicted in May

Pain Doc Volkman Speaks Out Against DEA in April - Gets Indicted in May; Alexander DeLuca; War on Docs/Pain Crisis; 2007-05-26.

In the previous item on this blog I excerpted some Comments posted by Dr. Paul Volkman to TierneyLab on April 1st, 2007 regarding a blog entry by Mr. Tierney about the retrial of Dr. William Hurwitz. [see: Dr. Volkman: Why DEA Goes After Pain Docs - ]

Then, on May 22, 2007, we get this Associated Press story: Ohio Doctor Indicted in Drug Deaths:

“[Dr. Volkman] and two office managers have been charged with illegally distributing excessive amounts of a powerful painkiller and other drugs, leading to the deaths of at least 14 people… A grand jury returned [a federal] indictment that was unsealed Tuesday [May 22, 2007]… All three were arrested Monday.

“They are accused of distributing more than 1.5 million pain pills between 2001 and 2006 while working out of southern Ohio clinics in Portsmouth and South Point… Volkman is suspected of writing prescriptions for excessive dosages or prescriptions for patients who did not need the drugs…”

Before I go into Dr. Volkman’s medical background, let me first do just a smidgen of FLASH TRASH analysis:

1.5 million pills / 5 years = 300,000 pills per year.

If ‘pain treatment’ = 4 pills/day of opioid, a ‘pain’ pt is prescribed 1440 pills/yr.

300,000 pills/yr divided by 1400 pills/patient equals 208.3 patients getting ‘opioid pain’ treatment per year equals 1.75 patients per day.

SO: merely prescribing 4 pills/day to 2 chronic pain patients/day is more than 1.5 million pills over 5 years. [see also: Modern Examples of Flash Trash in Table Format]

Background: The Case of Dr. Paul Volkman

Dr. Paul Volkman was a medical pain management doctor in southern Ohio, when on February 10, 2006, the DEA raided his office, seizing confidential medical records. His office was ransacked, as was his bank account. As was the bank account of his librarian wife. His license to prescribed controlled substances was suspended. Then, for over 18 months, no criminal charges were filed against him.

Until May 2007, one month after he denounced the DEA on TierneyLab. Suddenly, the traditional ‘initial media smear’ (drug war Trash Journalism) is in full swing with a second AP writer weighing in to give a one-sided prosecutorial view of the case. [Government Seeks To Recover $10 Million From ‘Pill Mill’ Operators; Terry Kinney; AP; 2007-05-27]

So far no journalist has thought is an important part of the story that Dr. Volkman is certified by the American Academy of Pain Management, that he has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and extensive Clinical Pharmacology experience, and a quarter century of experience in Emergency Medicine, Family Practice and Pediatrics. Or that he prided himself on careful monitoring of his chronic pain patients on opioid therapy including frequent drug testing, demanded his patients keep their medicine in a safe and dismissed them if their medicine was reported “stolen”.

So far the professional press hasn’t bothered to report that Dr. Volkman was involved in “expedited” DEA hearings regarding the suspension of his DEA licensure, and now suddenly criminal charges are filed. Or that Dr. Volkman felt confident he would prevail in these hearings, that the evidence against him was unreliable hearsay obtained illegally.

While dutifully recording every accusation and innuendo from any level of law enforcement official against him, the Associated Press apparently doesn’t find it newsworthy that Dr. Volkman’s attorney, Kevin Byers, filed a motion in March (about one month before the TierneyLab Comments and about two months before the criminal indictments) requesting relief from the oppressive administrative and legal “process” DEA was imposing on him in his efforts to get his licensure and livelihood restored. From, PETITIONER’S VERIFIED PETITION FOR REVIEW OF THE FEBRUARY 13, 2006, IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF PETITIONER’S DEA REGISTRATION PURSUANT TO 5 USC §701 ET SEQ., WITH PRAYERS FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF:

“The government will certainly answer by alleging that Dr. Volkman must await a “final” determination from the Deputy Administrator and then appeal that under 21 USC §877. However, 5 USC §703 provides that “inadequacy” of an established process for judicial review will justify “any applicable form of legal action” to seek a timely remedy. As outlined infra, and as more fully anticipated in future briefs and argument, Petitioner asserts that the “remedy” available by awaiting further notification from the Deputy Administrator is illusory and wholly inadequate given the facts and history of this particular case.”

Isn’t this part of the story, Associated Press? Or that Dr. Volkman has a separate federal case against his assets, a so called Forfeiture in Rem case and that he has filed a 12B6 motion to dismiss which his attorneys felt had a good chance of success?

Dr. Volkman is a highly credentialed and experienced physician, a vocal critic of the DEA, who has been actively fighting them in courts for a year and a half. Isn’t that part of the story, Associated Press?

Alexander DeLuca, M.D., MPH
Senior Consultant, Pain Relief Network


The system and the Thugs who run it all "Stink up this Country"!

I am a middle aged man with a Herniated disc with slippage, Nerve impingment, tissue scarring, and Arthritis at L4/L5 location of my lower back. I have deep constant pain day and night, day in day out! I really need pain medicine and I can't get it. The only thing that saves me is that I am a Veteran and I can get my pain medicine at VA Hospitals.

I found out about the trouble in the pharmaceutical system in this country after I had a car accident. I had to first find a pharmacy that would stock the pain medicine (I had to go to 5 pharmacies until I could find the medicine in stock. Then I had to have my doctor call (the Insurance Company) yes the insurance companies are part of this scheme too, and explain why I needed this medicine (even though he had written me a prescription)! Then when I picked up my script there were big Red Letters on it CLASS A NARCOTIC and got strange looks from the pharmacist. Like I was a drug addict. When my INSURANCE ran out I had to change doctors and I couldn't find a doctor that would prescribe me any narcotic pain relievers. I guess the DEA has them all scared to death. I wound up still in pain, out of pain medicine, having very bad withdrawl symptoms, had to go to an emergency room for it. At the emergency room I was given a prescription. When I asked for a list of pain management clinics that would take my insurance I was given a list of Drug Treatment Programs to attend. The only thing that saves my butt is the fact that I am a US Veteran and I get all the pain medicine I need at the VA Hospital with no questions or run around! BRAVO for that!

It stinks to know that so many people in this country who are in chronic pain get the run around and more times than none are turned away or treated like drug addicts when they seek relief from their legitimate pain.

I only wish that this Mcnulty creep and the people at the DEA get conditions where they desperately need pain medications and are treated in the same disgusting manner.

A big thumbs up to all of you money hungry theives! And you know where you can put that thumb!

Opiates and stuff

Rhubarb Koznowski

Interestingly enough, the consensus is that use of opiates for pain relief requires an ever increasing dosage due to tolerance. They are however virtually non toxic. One study in LANCET discussed dosages of twenty to thirty grams per day in some cases of opiates were administered.
So, even if you are lucky enough to get a dr. to treat for pain, if he keeps increasing the dosage you and he will soon be on the DEA's shi*list.
The torture goes on.

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