Wednesday, February 18, 2004
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? has a transcript of a speech Rep. Ron Paul, MD made on the House floor, where he takes on the DEA's meddling with pain doctors. I like Ron Paul, he's been a strong and articulate advocate for bringing sanity into our nation's drug policy. If all our legislators had his common sense the war on drugs would have been over yesterday.

For those of you who never read the whole thing, here are some excerpts from his eloquent appeal to his colleagues.

Mr. Speaker, the publicity surrounding popular radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s legal troubles relating to his use of the pain killer OxyContin hopefully will focus public attention on how the federal drug war threatens the effective treatment of chronic pain.

...In cases where patients are not high profile celebrities like Mr. Limbaugh, it is pain management physicians who bear the brunt of overzealous prosecutors. Faced with the failure of the war on drugs to eliminate drug cartels and kingpins, prosecutors and police have turned their attention to pain management doctors, using federal statutes designed for the prosecution of drug dealers to prosecute physicians for prescribing pain medicine.

...Many of the cases brought against physicians are rooted in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s failure to consider current medical standards regarding the use of opioids[emphasis added], including OxyContin, in formulating policy.

...Prosecutors show no concern for how their actions will affect patients who need large amounts of opioids to control their chronic pain. For example, the prosecutor in the case of Dr. Cecil Knox of Roanoke, Virginia, told all of Dr. Knox’s patients to seek help in federal clinics even though none of the federal clinics would prescribe effective pain medicine!

...The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), one of the nation’s leading defenders of medical freedom, recently advised doctors to avoid prescribing opioids because, according to AAPS, “drug agents set medical standards.”

....By waging this war on pain physicians, the government is condemning patients to either live with excruciating chronic pain or seek opioids from other, less reliable, sources – such as street drug dealers. Of course opioids bought on the street likely will pose a greater risk of damaging a patient’s health than opioids obtained from a physician.

...Mr. Speaker, Congress should take action to rein in overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement officials, and stop the harassment of legitimate physicians who act in good faith when prescribing opioids for relief from chronic pain.

His closing statement is brilliant.

Finally, I wish to express my hope that Mr. Limbaugh’s case will encourage his many fans and listeners to consider how their support for the federal war on drugs is inconsistent with their support of individual liberty and constitutional government.

Who would have thought a Republican member of Congress from Texas would show this much sense. If you're from Texas, please keep this man in office.

[Thanks to Vigilius Haufniensis for the link]


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