It's Not Just Marijuana. DEA is at War With Other Medicines Too.

The Washington Post has a disturbing piece that ought to broaden recent discussion of the conflict between the drug war and legitimate medical treatments. The DEA is taking legal medicines away from elderly people who need them:

Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, according to two Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts.

Terence McCormally, a doctor who cares for patients in nursing homes in Northern Virginia, said the tug of war reflects "the tension between the war on drugs and the war on pain."

"For the doctor and the nurse, it's a nuisance," he said, "but for the patient it is needless suffering."

Our efforts to control the lives of people who take drugs for fun have led us to destroy the lives of people who take drugs for serious medical conditions. The harsh reality here is that the best medicines often become popular with people they weren't intended for. That's going to happen no matter what you do. But if every effective pain reliever is overly restricted, then the medicine's primary purpose of relieving pain can never be achieved.

The drug war has gone blind even to the most basic functions that drugs are supposed to serve in our society. As efforts to prevent diversion and recreational use continue their inevitable failure, we face a very real threat that desperate drug war bureaucrats will legislate many of our best medicines out of existence.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Patients need med's

There is something wrong with a country that develops the best medications in the world and then denies or prolongs the the patients right to have those medications.

Arresting the handicapped and the seriously ill people who need medications that will help, is the most disgusting thing this country has ever done to it's own citizens.

Shame on the DEA and law enforcement and shame on us for allowing it to happen!

You got that right!

Its even more disgusting to loose your profession over compassionate care of people suffering from chronic pain! It is severely depressing, in fact for one to know all of those years spent learning the trade are wasted, as the result of the actions of a a bunch of undereducated politicians and lawyers!

DEA, FDA, CDC, and the others need to be reformed

The DEA and FDA have become rogue departments in American gov't who answer to no one and take responsibility for nothing except making their bloated bureaucrats richer by the day. We need to end this insane war on drugs and legalize marijuana, we need to have more opportunities and education for the poor parts of society so that their chances of drug abuse are reduced. We cannot let our elderly and sick be set aside because of the DEA's agenda.

Alan - Glass Pipes artist and marijuana activist.

This subject is...

...at least as outrageous as the arrests of medical'marijuana patients is yet it doesn't get the kind of attention it deserves - even in the drug-law reform sphere. Everyone is a potential victim in this one; anybody can wind up in the hospital screaming for morphine. In fact the world would probably be a better place if they had to. I've done my time and still do it every day. Now I'm completely without help in our new city (St Paul, MN) which is really getting to me.

We need more exposure on this subject. It will win us some converts. Those of us who live with this outrage would feel a lot better about it too. The DEA's effect on Doctors is astounding.

meeneecat's picture

none of this is new, it's been going on for awhile

This type of stuff has been going on for quite a while in the world of chronic pain, most pain patients are horrendously under treated, including those to whom adequate pain medication is denied to altogether. It's lead to probably one of the biggest epidemic of modern times...the lack of treatment of chronic pain...and most other countries have it 10x worse than the U.S., i.e. in Africa where the only "cure" for intractable pain is suicide, as doctors are not even allowed to prescribe small doses of opioid pain killers no matter what the situation. In the U.S. there have been cases of pain patients committing suicide after their doctors were arrested for the alleged "crime" of prescribing "too much" pain medication to patients (despite the effectiveness and safety of higher dose opioid therapy being well proven).

Still, the DEA thinks that forcing millions of pain patients to needlessly suffer by preventing them from having the medicine that they need in order to stop a minuscule amount people from taking opioids for recreational purposes is somehow a worthy cause. We should all recognize the cruelty of this policy, unfortunately many people, including legislators don't get it, until by it happens to be themselves or a loved one who is suffering from excruciating pain.

And of course, the DEA's methods are ineffective, but even as the bodies and casualties pile up, the drug warriors still maintain that all this collateral damage, pain patients and others caught in the cross fire is somehow necessary.

I recommend watching:
"When Cops play Doctor: How the Drug War Punishes Pain Patients"
and
Interview with Dr. Deluca: War on Doctors / Pain Crisis

As a pain patient myself, I can tell you, that everything Dr. Deluca says in his interview is so true. There are thousands of pain patients who are forced to spend their days home bound in bed, all while there exists out there a safe and effective medicine that would give many of us our lives back and allow many of us to go back to work and/or participate in some of the other things we enjoy. But that medicine is being denied to us, because of a cruel, inhumane and ineffective drug war. Imagine if the gov't started denying cancer medicines to cancer patients? That it akin to what is being done to pain patients...and this should be a concern to everyone, because chances are either you or a loved one will, at some point in their lives, need to be treated for pain.

End of the Drug War predicted

For what it's worth, Elliott Wave and The Socionomist this past summer predicted that within a few years we will see the end of the drug war. In the midst of the biggest, nastiest depression seen in about 300 years, there will be far more serious things to worry about than whether someone we don't even know is using or abusing drugs and his own body. They draw the analogy with the last depression, when Prohibition got abolished. A declining social mood, in which people's trust in government gives way to serious distrust, ought to help that trend toward abolition along.

Could recession end cannabis ban?

I found the story again. It was a link from Socionomics:

Could Recession End Cannabis Ban?

no relief for hep c

I am shocked that no doctors where I am living will even help.TYLENOL was too toxic for my liver ,AND MOST otcs CAUSE VERY BAD GI SYMPTOMS.J give up and expecy to suffer until there is a merciful end.Shame the thr dea and shame on america.

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