Dr James Schaller
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My introductory comment: So when you hear about someone "addicted" to oxycodone or some other prescribed pain medication, it might be good if a real pain expert was involved in the reporting who did not need a sexy and spicy headline. The facts are that most research, even by conservative addiction groups, list addiction to pain medication as being 1% or even less. Some articles even question whether actual past addicts relapse if the use of pain medication is for true pain.

"The price
of freedom is
constant vigilance."
Thomas Jefferson

So before we join in the ignorance, those are the facts. So lets allow pain to be fully treated and lets all act like civilized people, and not a nation of paraniod sadists who withhold pain medication from the suffering. Because the fact is that tens of millions are suffering with pain in the USA from undertreatment. And these people may be your friends and family, if not now, in the future.

After OxyContin Series, A Delayed Reaction

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 16, 2004; Page C01

The Orlando Sentinel portrayed David Rokisky as a happy newlywed -- "Life was perfect," he said -- whose life was ruined when he started taking the painkiller OxyContin.

Unfortunately for the Florida paper, Rokisky's life had not been so perfect. He had pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy in a cocaine case four years earlier. Why the Sentinel didn't know that -- and why the paper waited three months to tell its readers after being notified -- is now the focus of two internal investigations.

"We made a couple of mistakes," says Managing Editor Elaine Kramer. "We still don't know exactly what happened. We're looking into it pretty actively and aggressively."

"The reporting should have been more thorough," adds Public Editor Manning Pynn.

Rokisky's mother-in-law, Vivian Satz, says she told reporter Doris Bloodsworth on Oct. 20 -- the second day of the five-part series on OxyContin -- there was a huge gap in her work, and followed up with an e-mail. "I told her this was a nice little fantasy story," Satz says. "I told her about David's probation ... Doris promised me repeatedly they'd be coming forth with a correction." But the paper did not publish a follow-up story on Rokisky's background until Feb. 1.

News organizations often look for someone to humanize a complicated story. The 36-year-old former police officer with a "bodybuilder's physique," repeatedly featured in sidebars and pictures, was tapped for the role of an "accidental addict" who went through a detox program. But the failure to fully check out such a person can be journalistically disastrous. Rokisky, who could not be reached, has also had domestic-violence disputes with his wife, according to police records.

Timothy Bannon, a spokesman for Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, says the company immediately complained to the Sentinel about the series, which prompted House hearings last week. "Clearly, it would appear the newspaper did not do an accurate job of researching the story, and compounded that by concealing information that was known to them for some period of time," he says.

Bannon says a quick database search found articles in the Albuquerque Journal from 2000 that reported Rokisky's conviction. "This was all readily available, one mouse click away," he says.

FOR THE FULL STORY AND NOT MERELY THIS SMALL EXCERPT PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK: www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A44798-2004Feb15


Dr. James

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