The DEA War on
Chronic Pain Patients
The DEA's intimidation tactics against doctors causes billions of
dollars of additional healthcare expenses for patients, billions of
dollars in lost productivity because of untreated pain, and is actively
destroying or severely limiting the quality of life for tens of millions
of people in America every single day.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine,
seventy-six million Americans suffer from chronic, daily pain, and at least nine million have daily pain that is severe enough to interfere significantly with their jobs and relationships.
An estimated 20% of American adults (61.5 million people) report that pain or physical discomfort disrupts their sleep a few nights a week or more.
The annual cost of chronic pain in the United States, including healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity, is estimated to be $100 billion.
More than half of all hospitalized patients experienced pain in the last days of their lives and although therapies are present to alleviate most pain for those dying of cancer, research shows that 50-75% of patients die in moderate to severe pain.
In a recent survey, 50% of chronic-pain patients had, at
one time or another considered suicide to escape the unrelenting agony of their pain.
There are no statistics on the number of suicides attributable to
untreated pain, but various studies carried out over the past decade have found that fear of pain is what lies behind the majority of requests for
Untreated pain also raises blood pressure, and
researchers have found that every 10mm increase in systolic blood
pressure results, on the average, in a 40 percent increase in risk
of stroke and a 30 percent increase in risk of heart attack.
The DEA campaign
against prescription drug abuse has stigmatized patients in need of
pain medication. DEA intimidation tactics and sting operations against doctors have created a
climate of fear, with the predictable result that many doctors now won't
prescribe opiates at all or are only willing to prescribe amounts that
are totally inadequate. As a result, many more people die from not having the prescription pain medications they need, than die from the drug abuse the government is trying to prevent. The DEA is
actually killing chronic pain patients by intimidating their doctors.
One of the major causes of those deaths is the overuse of OTC NSAIDS like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) by people who are desperate for pain relief.
The Food and Drug Administration estimates that 200,000 cases of gastric bleeding occur each year,
resulting in nearly 20,000 deaths.
Americans are a generous and compassionate people. But they have
been brainwashed their entire lives by the constant drumbeat of
anti-drug propaganda coming from drug warriors, law enforcement and the criminal justice system,
and endlessly parroted by self-serving politicians and the media.
Twenty years ago, the DEA made prescription drug
abuse its primary mission after its survival was threatened because of
its failure to have any measurable impact on the availability of street drugs. The
DEA ginned-up a lot of bogus statistics about deaths supposedly due to
prescription drugs by blaming deaths on prescription drugs if there were
any narcotics involved, even if the drugs weren't the actual cause of
death. Then they cranked-up their propaganda
machine in concert with their allies in various public and private
agencies who all have one thing in common; they owe their existence to
the war on drugs. The media accepts press releases from these agencies
and does stories on them without any critical examination of the claims
being made. Mothers who lost their children to drug abuse are invited to
testify before Congress, giving our representatives an opportunity to
exploit their grief in a national spotlight for political
The DEA has focused on doctors who prescribe a lot of pain medications to
chronic pain patients because they are easy targets. Doctors keep good
records and they have a lot of assets that can be seized. And the DEA is
far more interested in seizing assets than they are in seizing illegal
drugs. Doctors who prescribe narcotics are now living under the constant
threat that they will be arrested by the DEA and prosecuted as if they
were running a drug cartel.
Once arrested and stripped of all his assets, a doctor will be
charged with tens, if not hundreds of individual crimes, so that they
will be under tremendous pressure to plead guilty to lesser charges in
order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. Many doctors who are totally
innocent cave-in and accept a plea bargain because they know the odds
are stacked against them.
In a criminal trial, a jury of ordinary people are asked to
decide whether a doctor's care was appropriate, based on the testimony
of competing experts on both sides. Prosecutors who want to portray a compassionate doctor
as a common drug dealer will hold up bags of pills and argue that the
doctor was operating "outside the bounds of
legitimate practice." One way they do that is by trying to confuse the jury about what the
legal definition of "Standard of Care" really means.
"Standard of Care" aka Reasonable Physician Standard of
Care is legally defined as being based on what the science (as reflected
in the medical texts and journals) indicates is appropriate care.
But prosecutors and their hired-gun experts attempt to use "Community Norms" to show that
the doctor is operating way out on the fringes -- beyond what "most
doctors" would do. Community Norm is defined as
what most doctors would do, but most doctors are afraid to do the right
thing because of the chilling effects of DEA intimidation tactics.
Doctors who aggressively treat the patients who need the most pain
relief are actually doing the right thing, based on any reasonable
interpretation of the science. That puts those doctors outside
the norm, and in the DEA's crosshairs, because most doctors won't
prescribe ANY narcotics for chronic pain. Only a small percentage are
willing to prescribe narcotics for the treatment of chronic pain, and
the overwhelming majority of those will only prescribe to their
comfort level, rather than their patient's. The tiny percentage of
doctors who are courageous enough to put their patients welfare first
are under constant surveillance by the DEA and routinely subjected to
DEA sting operations.
You can make a difference, and you should try, because you and
everyone you care about is at risk for having their life destroyed by
untreated pain. Do not accept without question what is being
spoon-fed to you daily by those who profit from denying pain medications
to people who need it the most.
Wikileaks Cables Portray Expanded Reach of Drug Agency
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.
In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.
Report finds DEA Losing More Guns
The Drug Enforcement Administration is losing more guns than it was about five years ago, the Justice Department's inspector general said.
Auditors said the DEA lost 22 firearms and had an additional 69 stolen over the 5½-year period. The stolen weapons included pistols, rifles, shotguns, and a submachine gun.
The majority of stolen guns had been left in an official's car, despite a policy prohibiting leaving a weapon unattended in a vehicle. The report cited examples of guns stolen from cars parked outside restaurants, hotels, schools and gyms. Some agents had their guns taken from their cars while they were shopping or getting coffee. One firearm was stolen while the car was at the body shop.
Audit Faults DEA Mishandling of
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
"For most seizures we tested, we found no documentation
indicating that a witnessing agent or task force officer was present at critical stages of the
cash handling process. Further, we found many instances in which agents and task force officers generally did not count the seized currency; did not
provide a receipt to the subject from whom the currency was taken; did not complete documents transferring custody of the currency to an evidence
custodian; and did not record the receipt, transfer, or disposal of the currency in a temporary or permanent control ledger."