Monday, December 29, 2003

Worried Pain Doctors Decry Prosecutions

Washington Post

"As DEA officials see it, the medical community needs to get much better control over narcotic prescribing. The agency has met frequently with societies representing pain doctors and pain medicine and has encouraged them to expand narcotic-use training for physicians -- which all agree is woefully inadequate. The agency often says that it supports the legitimate use of prescription narcotics for chronic pain sufferers and has agreed to some general guidelines worked out with those groups.

But the DEA also is the agency targeting pain doctors who write frequent narcotic prescriptions and collecting information leading to arrests. And as many doctors have learned, the government does not require evidence of what is normally considered criminal intent to bring charges.

'We don't have to prove extra money is being made or doctors are getting favors for prescribing,' Willis of the DEA said. 'What we have to prove is that they are operating outside the course of legitimate medical practice.'"

Ooh, the DEA v pain doctors. Don't expect either side to back down. I bet some of these docs do overprescribe. They think: how dare the DEA tell me how to practice medicine? This is the difference between doctors and lawyers. Lawyers are fully resigned to the fact that the government can tell us what to do - and then we ignore them anyway.

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