Jewish World Review March 15, 2004 /22 Adar, 5764

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Consumer Reports


Dear Rush: We Feel Your Pain, So Now Feel the Pain of Others


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Dear Rush,

Just the other day on the EIB Network you referred to yourself as our "hero and leader." Here is a suggestion that will make you a real champion for more than 40 million people and not just to your conservative ditto-heads!

And all you have to do is set the record straight and feel your own pain.

Instead of claiming to be a drug addict, why don't you just tell prosecutors to get off your aching back - and neck? Admit you are o! ne of the millions of patients in chronic pain and start taking the legal meds you need.

Dependency on a medication is not the same as addiction. Granted, claiming to be an "addict" usually gives you a legal leg up. After all, other celebs caught "under the influence" usually take the easy way out, claim addiction and run off to rehab. They then get good parts and high accolades because their brethren want to help them! Toss them an Oscar or Emmy and everything comes up dieffenbachia.

But Rush, you're not like other celebs. And you weren't caught with your hand in the recreational cocaine jar or on the heroin syringe. So Rush, there is a higher calling for you. A chance to lead patients out of the dark ages of pain control and to the mountain cap of compassion!

When patients just like you need legal medications for legitimate pain, that's when the trouble begins. Because a handful of drug-seekers have popularized opioids such as OxyContin as the drug-du-jour, prosecutors and pol! iticians are making drug "diversion" their cause-du-jour.

You and others will be lucky your physician doesn't get charged and go to jail as have so many already. They are already sniffing around your doctors on both coasts. So who's next?

As we noted in July, 2003, The Painful DEA II: War on legal drugs ensnares too many doctors and not enough dealers, "Prosecutors and law enforcement officials throughout the country are egregiously targeting doctors for helping patients manage crippling pain with controlled, legal drugs." We concluded that, "Those who require legal medications ought to be able to receive them without their doctors and pharmacists going to jail!"


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And just to make matters worse the new Bush Anti-Drug Plan will target painkillers. On March 1, Jennifer C. Kerr (AP) reports that "President Bush's national anti-drug strategy will for the first time target the use of pain reliever! s, sedatives and stimulants. . . A key part of the strategy being released involves government efforts to help states develop monitoring systems to track a patient's use of prescription medicine."

That means that every patient's prescriptions will be entered into a government data base for only-who-knows to surf at their leisure. A fed in every sink and medicine cabinet! One to analyze your urine may be coming soon!

Recently a prominent medical organization, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, came to your aid by supporting the right to privacy when it comes to your medical records in Florida.

The AAPS says that the Anti-Drug Plan means even fewer doctors will be willing to risk prison time to prescribe pain med; and pain already vastly under treated will be even more so. And we might add, at a cost of billions every year in lost work and other economic costs, not to mention the devastating effect on families and relationships.

Rush, it was also reported on Monday, March 1, 2004 that you are being honored by Talkers magazine and the National Association of Talk Radio Hosts, which will give you their annual Freedom of Speech Award in May.

So Rush, you are our guy -- someone who understands the issue, has been persecuted and is not afraid to speak out. Even the ACLU is with you on this one!

Thousands of pain patients, families and doctors will converge on Washington in April for the "Americans in Pain - Silent No More" march organized by the American Pain Institute, Pain Relief Network and American Pain Patients Coalition. (See www. AmericanPainInstitute.org)

In the government-declared war on pain, patients need a general to lead them. So take your legal medications, use them legally, and meet us in Washington to smell the blossums! Then you will be a real hero and leader.

Editor's Note: Michael Arnold Glueck wrote this week's column




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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