Addiction and Pain

Tweet of the day from Maia Szalavitz:

116 million in chronic pain. 23.5 million with addiction. 2 nat instits on adxn, none on pain

There’s nothing wrong with caring about addicts, but there’s something extraordinarily perverse when we’re so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage.

Here’s her article on chronic undertreated pain.

“I’m shocked and surprised at the magnitude of [the problem],” said Dr. Perry Fine, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, while attending the press conference on Wednesday announcing the release of the IOM report. He was not associated with the research.

Yet the reports’ authors said they believed that they had actually underestimated the incidence of chronic pain — that which lasts 30 to 60 days or more and takes a toll on personal and professional life — because their data didn’t include people living in settings like nursing homes. Further, as baby boomers age, the rate of chronic pain increases daily.

In a related story over at Points, Siobhan Reynolds talks about the Unconstitutional perversion of medical authority admitted to by the Department of Justice.

When questioned by District Judge Robert Jones as to why federal prosecutors believed they possessed the authority to use the CSA to criminalize the actions of DEA registrants, otherwise empowered by Oregon state law to assist in patient suicides, the DOJ offered the following justification, citing language found in a House Committee Report discussing the possible implications of the CSA for the federal regulation of medicine, using the criminal code:

“Although the Committee is concerned about the [in]appropriateness of federal prosecutors determining the appropriate method of the practice of medicine, it is necessary to recognize that for the last 50 years this is precisely what has happened, through criminal prosecution of physicians whose methods of prescribing narcotic drugs have not conformed to the opinions of federal prosecutors of what constitutes appropriate methods of professional practice.” Defendants’ Memorandum, pp. 16-17….” (Emphasis added)

District Judge Jones offered the following rebuke:

“Defendants [DOJ] cannot seriously conclude from the above- quoted language that Congress delegated to federal prosecutors the authority to define what constitutes legitimate medical practices. [FN15] To state the proposition is to refute it. Federal prosecutors have never possessed such powers, and the vagueness of the reference would render any alleged violation based on a prosecutor’s subjective views about medical practice patently unenforceable.”

And yet, to this day, prosecutors have regularly exercised such powers with impunity even though they don’t have them.

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