03/11/12 Doug McVay | Drug Truth Network
Here's a transcript:
Throwing out the baby with the bath water
US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske testified before a House Subcommittee on February 29. The Czar appeared on a panel testifying alongside attorneys general from Florida and Kentucky, all of them urging tougher action against prescription drug misuse and abuse. The Czar declared that problems of prescription drug abuse had grown to a national crisis which until recently had not been quote “on the radar screen” end quote.
A federal crackdown on pain management specialists and pain patients has gone on since at least 2001, when hysteria over OxyContin was making headlines across the country. Much of what was reported was hype, yet it resulted in a lot of pain – literally – for many people.
In December 2007, Drug Czar John Walters from the White House press room announced the release of new Monitoring the Future data showing that prescription drug misuse and abuse among young people was still on the increase.
In 2011, the DEA held its 20th annual conference on pharmaceutical and chemical diversion. Two Zero, this year will be the 21st.
Why does this matter? According to the CDC's report Health United States 2010, 30 percent of adults over 18 surveyed reported suffering joint pain within the past 30 days. Most disturbingly according to the CDC, quote “even for patients enrolled in a hospice care program that has the stated purpose of making the dying process more comfortable, one-third of decedents had pain near the time of death.” end quote.
While there is no question that diversion does occur, and that opioids are powerful and potentially addictive, there is also no question that many Americans suffer with pain. The chilling effect of the crackdown on pain relief means that many will continue to needlessly suffer. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. It's time to flip the script.
For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay, Common Sense for Drug Policy.