Saturday, July 23, 2005

Handcuffing medicine

If John Tierney wasn't already married, I'd probably propose to him after this followup to his last op-ed about the war on pain management doctors.

Read it all for yourself. It's short but here's the money grafs anyway.
The current zeal for sending doctors to jail for writing painkiller prescriptions may seem baffling, especially to the patients who relied on the doctors for pain relief. But if you consider it from the perspective of the agents raiding the doctors' offices, you can see a certain logic.
You see it became so painfully apparent that the DEA is losing the war on some drugs, they had to find some way to bring up their arrest numbers and what better target than this?
As quarry for D.E.A. agents, doctors offered several advantages over crack dealers. They were not armed. They were listed in the phone book. They kept office hours and records of their transactions. And unlike the typical crack dealer living with his mother, they had valuable assets that could be seized and shared by the federal, state and local agencies fighting the drug war.

I don't mean to suggest that the doctors were all blameless, or that OxyContin wasn't being diverted to the black market and being abused. But the problem wasn't nearly as bad as federal and local authorities made it out to be.
Indeed. More people die of complications due to daily aspirin use than can be attributed solely to Oxycontin. In fact, there may be almost no deaths that could be attributed solely to the drug. A drug by the way that is extraordinarily effective and safe if used properly.

It's not a war on drugs. It's a war on Americans.


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