Wednesday, December 31, 2003
The Drug Enforcement Agency knows better than medical boards and
individual physicians about how best to treat patients with chronic
pain. They are so certain of their superior knowledge that they are
happy to use our tax money to bring criminal cases against physicians
whose treatment of pain doesn't meet DEA standards.
No doubt there are some unscrupulous physicians who knowingly over-
prescribe narcotics. But remember, it was once legal in the US to
prescribe large amounts of narcotics to addicts, and is an accepted
medical procedure in other countries today. There are medical boards
that exist to control bad doctoring -- why is the DEA even necessary
for this purpose? The result is that few promising young physicians
will choose pain relief as a specialty and all of us will risk being under-
treated for pain.
Here's a Washington Post report (registration required) on the
DEA's activities; thanks to DRCNet for the pointer.