WHAT CAN YOU DO TO WAKE UP POLITICIANS TO THE PROBLEM OF PAIN?
They all have to learn more about the millions with inadequate pain control. In 1990 it was utterly pathetic how few in the USA appreciated the need for chronic pain treatment. Many groups have made some progress, but nevertheless, it is not enough when physicians following their oath decrease pain and get harassed by government agencies thinking in the 1980's. perhaps you were like me and did not realize how severe the problem was until you had severe under-treated pain or had a loved one in chronic pain and no one was willing to treat them sufficiently. It woke you up? Seeing a few patients is severe suffering sure woke me up that surgery and spinal injections and Motrin sure is not enough for some folks. Send materials or your personal story to them. Do not mention your physician unless they are being harassed.
Sample Letter To Congress Members - Pain Management
The Honorable ___________
I am writing to bring your attention to a problem affecting many of my patients and physician colleagues.
Throughout the United States, physicians are being threatened, impoverished, delicensed, and imprisoned for prescribing in good faith with the intention of relieving pain. The "War on Drugs'' has come to mean a war on lawful drugs also-and against the doctors who prescribe them and the patients who take them.
Prosecutors make careers out of high-publicity cases involving the hot "drug du jour" such as OxyContin. But this war is causing enormous collateral damage and deaths from "friendly fire." Physicians have been drummed out of practice, sent to jail, and even been driven to suicide in the face of these 21st century witch hunts.
If this continues, not one doctor will be willing to prescribe the drugs that patients so desperately need. The real problem is not drugs, but drug misuse. But repeated and frequent abuse of prosecutorial discretion is compounding the problem.
Prosecutors charge doctors with murder when a patient dies as a result of overdosing on legally prescribed drugs, usually combined with alcohol or illegal drugs. Then they pile on dozens of unrelated counts, such as drug kingpin, fraud, and RICO charges. The physician is so frightened that he will usually plead guilty to lesser charges carrying hefty fines and some prison time to make the case "go away."
In other cases, drug-dependent patients may be arrested, then promised drugs if they will testify against a doctor or threatened with prosecution if they don't. Psychiatric patients may be threatened with involuntary confinement, addled geriatric patients coached to change stories. Prosecutors commonly use stalling tactics to bring defendants to their knees. They know the longer the accused goes without being able to earn a living while the legal fees mount, the better the chances are that the desperate target will make a bad deal just to bring the nightmare to an end.
I urge Congress to hold hearings to investigate ways to protect physicians against unwarranted prosecution, to protect patients' access to medications, and to encourage physicians to make chronic pain management available in their practices.
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