Jewish World Review Oct. 15, 2003 / 19 Tishrei, 5764

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

The Medicine Men
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


The War on Legal Painkillers: Sen. Kerry owes an apology to the more than 48 million Americans who suffer chronic pain


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Combat talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announced at the end of his broadcast Friday, Oct. 10, that he will check into a rehab clinic to treat an addiction to pain-killing drugs. Responding to a story published last week by the National Enquirer, he told his millions of listeners "part of what you've heard and read in the past week is correct."

"I am addicted to prescription pain medication," he said in his statement.

Limbaugh explained that he began taking prescription painkillers about five or six years ago to ease pain following unsuccessful spinal surgery.

Sadly, at the Democratic candidates' debate, the previous Thursday night, some Democrats thought they could score political points by treating a serious medical problem humorously!

Discussing the high cost of drugs, Sen. John Kerry quipped: "In order to be assured prescription drugs in this country, you could hire Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper (laughter from crowd). . . or elect me President."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) issued the following statement in response to comments made by Sen. Kerry during the Democratic debate on Oct. 9, 2003:

"Sen. Kerry owes an apology to the more than 48 million Americans who suffer chronic pain. Few of them would see the humor in his flippant remarks about a desperate patient's attempts to relieve a devastating medical condition nor do we."

Donate to JWR

Substitute 'mental retardation' or 'cancer' in his remarks, and the level of outrage would be voluminous and loud. According to the audience reaction of laughter, the Democratic party that 'felt our pain' under Bill Clinton now finds it fodder for jokes.

Courageous physicians are being prosecuted for prescribing legal pain treatment. This 'war on drugs' has turned into a war on doctors and the legal drugs they prescribe and the suffering patients who need the drugs to attempt anything approaching a normal life. Patients are having difficulty finding doctors to treat them as a result of misguided drug policy, law enforcement, and overzealous prosecutions.

The result of recent prosecutions of dozens of leading pain specialists is that doctors are afraid to prescribe opioids, and patients can't get the drugs they so desperately need. Physicians are being threatened, impoverished, delicensed, and imprisoned for prescribing in good faith with the intention of relieving pain. And their patients have become the collateral damage in this trumped-up war.

Some patients require very large doses, sometimes literally hundreds of pills in each prescription a number that may seem alarming to people unfamiliar with current treatment standards in pain management. Other patients report that they have resorted to lying about being heroin addicts in order to get pain medication at methadone clinics.

The situation has become so critical that AAPS has sent out a warning to doctors:

"If you're thinking about getting into pain management using opioids as appropriate DON'T. Forget what you learned in medical school drug agents now set medical standards."

If this continues, pain patients will be back in the Dark Ages of 'pain clinics' that basically told the patients they had to learn to 'live with the pain' except possibly if they had cancer and then they wouldn't have to live with it for very long.

Prosecutors are hell-bent on targeting career-making, high-publicity cases on the backs of patients and doctors. Recent actions show that prosecutors have little concern about the trail of destruction left by their actions as patients face crippling pain and gut-wrenching withdrawal.

If this continues, there won't be one doctor left willing to prescribe the drugs that patients so desperately need.

And that will leave 48 million other patients in addition to Rush Limbaugh who have legitimate medical illnesses, injuries and disabilities seeking legal medications in innovative illegal ways. Perhaps they will call their lawyers to obtain prescriptions for legal pain medications.

Either way, some Democrats think pain is funny! And either way we are heading for a painful showdown between patients and the DEA.




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

Up

10/13/03: Medicare defrauds itself
09/19/03: Politics prevents women from learning about abortion/breast cancer risks
09/12/03: Medical mischief
09/05/03: Unholy medicine
08/29/03: The California Tea Party and West Coast Determinism; Voter anger coming your way soon
08/18/03: The outlaw prosecutors: A Justice and Civil Liberties Issue
08/08/03: "Toxic Teeth?"
07/25/03: Resuscitating the Constitution; CPR American Style
07/25/03: Drug reimportation: Bill translates to goodnight, patients
07/11/03: Costly Medicare Changes, Without Real Reform
07/04/03: The Painful DEA II: War on legal drugs ensnares too many doctors and not enough dealers
06/20/03: The Medicare Mess: Will President Bush call Congress' Bluff?
06/13/03: Diagnosis: School Insanity: A suit for sanity and school discipline
06/05/03: Soaring Medical Costs: Rational ignorance or rational enlightenment?
05/30/03: A Tale of Two Admirable Women: Jessica and Annika
05/23/03: Latest medical innovation: Cash
05/09/03: We feel your pain; Physicians have it too no thanks to the DEA
05/02/03: Medical Quarterbacking
04/25/03: CNN the "Conscience-Not Network"
04/21/03: Medical Miranda?
04/11/03: Are childhood vaccines shots in the dark?
04/09/03: The PETA Principle -- The lambshank Redemption
03/28/03: American conscience?
03/21/03: West Wimps or Wings: Treatment for Hollywood Hypocrisy
03/13/03: Worldwide schmaltz shortage looms --- all because of a featherless chicken
03/06/03: Legal metastases are killing us
02/28/03: Outside the Jury Box: Seeking Justice rather than a Lottery in Medical Liability
02/21/03: Workforce temperature rising; employer TLC in demand
02/14/03: Malpractice Insurance: They Reap What They Sue
02/12/03: Hawk, Dove or Groundhog: Diagnosis Critical List; Prognosis Uncertain
02/07/03: How about tax cuts for the "rich" and "poor"?
01/31/03: AIDS Bug Chasers
01/24/03: Libertarian moment or movement?
01/17/03: It's not just 'sue the docs' anymore
01/03/03: A pox on the critics; diagnosis sour grapes
01/03/03: If protesting is good for your health; then at least let's root for the home team
12/20/02: Obesidemic (obesity epidemic) or not?
12/20/02: Time for voluntary informed smallpox vaccinations
12/13/02: The real reason the state opposes homeschooling?
12/06/02: Conscience of a former conservative: Portrait of a political metamorphosis
11/27/02: Thanksgiving dinner hazard?
11/22/02: Time to think outside the box and inside the nucleus
11/15/02: The military should be protected from abusive environmental laws in times of war
11/11/02: Does Kyoto Treaty pose more harm than global warming?
10/31/02: Deep thoughts on Baseball, the World Series and Life: How about them Anaheim Angels?
10/23/02: "Pediatric rule" guinea pigs
10/23/02: Once the World Series ends, we need to create a Donnie Moore Day of Remembrance: Sports and mental health
10/18/02: Congress to senior patients: Do as we say not as we do for ourselves
10/11/02: Using pollution "scare labeling" to political advantage
10/04/02: The Great Asbestos Heist: Did Litigation and Junk Medical Science Helped Bring Down the World Trade Center?
09/27/02: The imminent rise of civic feminism: A far healthier national alternative in war and peace
09/20/02: A Ray A Day" to replace the daily apple?
09/13/02: Beware of celebrities hawking drugs
09/06/02: Avoid 9/11 overdose: Give blood to begin "September of Service," SOS
08/28/02: From Doubleday to strikeday: Baseball's collective anxiety attack
08/23/02: Should she or shouldn't she?: An alternative view on treating menopause with HRT
08/16/02: Cooking up defenses against germ warfare
08/02/02: Medicine, crime and canines
07/26/02: Lies, pathologic lies and the Palestinians
07/19/02: Medicare Drug Follies as in "now you see it, now you don't"
07/12/02: Anti-Profiling: A New Medically False Belief System
07/08/02: Don't procrastinate, vaccinate!
06/28/02: The scientific advances on the safe and effective deployment of DDT are being ignored, or denied. Why?
06/21/02: Sex and the system: In seeking healthcare men are different from women
06/14/02: The FDA, drug companies and life-saving drugs: Who's the fox and who's the hen now?
06/07/02: Medical Privacy Lost: A hippo on the healthcare back!
05/24/02: To clean up America's game: A (soggy) ground rule
05/10/02: Free speech is good medicine
05/03/02: Medicine's Vietnam
04/26/02: Attack on alternative medicine could lead to alternative lawsuits
04/12/02: Insure the 'crazies'?
04/09/02: No Time for Litmus Tests: In War We Need a Surgeon General and NIH, CDC, and FDA Directors
04/02/02: The scoop on soot: A dirty rotten shame?
03/22/02: Too many beautiful minds to waste: The first annual Caduceus Movie
03/15/02: Terror and transformation: Defense essential for health & state of mind
03/08/02: Diagnosis: Delusional
03/06/02: The great matzah famine
03/01/02: Is new Hippocratic Oath hypocritical?
02/15/02: Why the recent moaning about cloning?
02/08/02: Searching for Dr. Strangelove
01/15/02: Score one for the value of human life
01/04/02: Medical-legal-financial wake-up call
12/28/01: Who's afraid of a 'dirty bomb'?
12/21/01: End of medicine?
12/14/01: More heroes: Docs deserve a little credit after 9/11
11/16/01: Do we need 'Super Smallpox Saturdays'?
11/09/01: Why the post-9-11 health care debate will never be the same
11/01/01: Common sense good for our mental health
10/26/01: Your right to medical privacy --- even in terror time
10/12/01: Failed immigration policy ultimately bad for nation's mental health: Enemy within leads to epidemic of jumpy nerves
09/28/01: Can legal leopards change their spots: A treat instead of a trick
09/21/01: Civil defense again a civic duty
08/30/01: Shut down this government CAFE
08/23/01: School Bells or Jail Cells?
08/15/01: Time to take coaches to the woodshed
08/10/01: Blood, Guts & Glory: The Stem of the Stem Cell controversy

© 2002