ReasonTV: The government interference in medical pain management

posted at 9:30 am on September 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We hear plenty about celebrity overdoses and addictions to pain medication like Vicodin and Oxycontin in the news media, and with each high-profile death comes new calls for restrictions and investigations into the doctors who prescribe opioid analgesics. However, as Nick Gillespie explains for ReasonTV, those cases represent an outlier of pain management in the US. The bigger problem is not overdosing but underdosing, which leaves many Americans in severe chronic pain, including over 40% of seniors in nursing homes, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Why? The war on drugs has put doctors in fear of law enforcement, and that’s no irrational worry, as Dr. Frank Fisher explains in this video:

Pain specialists like Fisher and patients’ groups like the Pain Relief Network battle law enforcement officials who are forever on the lookout for “pill mills” and patients who misuse pain medicine. Fisher notes that the same medications so often associated with celebrity addiction are the same medications that combat pain most effectively.

Fisher has treated his patients with high doses of opioids-that is, until a swat team raided his clinic and threw him behind bars.

“They were trying to give me 256 years to life,” says Fisher who argues that fear of prosecution often prevents doctors from treating chronic pain patients effectively.

Fisher spent five months in jail and every cent he had (and then borrowed more) in his defense before the government finally dropped charges against him. It then took several years to get his medical license reinstated. At 56, Fisher has to start over “with a net worth of zero.” Not too many physicians will treat severe chronic pain aggressively when facing that kind of concerted effort by law enforcement to dictate treatment regimes to doctors.

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed government intervention in pain medication. John Holowach also covered this topic in his documentary High: The True Tale of American Marijuana. John’s perspective mainly concerns marijuana prohibition, but he also tells the tale of Dr. Paul Heberle. Heberle also ran afoul of the DEA, ironically after taking on patients that the government sent him after charging another doctor for overprescribing pain meds to the same patients. A small clip of that can be seen here:

If you have not yet bought a copy of High, read my review here and consider getting a copy.

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Gov’t should get out of our business and stick to governing and defending our constitution. Health Care is not a right or even a privilege. It is an individual concern. My Health Care is not THEIR DOMAIN. It is my domain. Their interference is why you can’t buy health insurance the way you want. Their interference is the reason prices are so high. Their interference is that, INTERFERENCE. Interference is rarely a positive attribute.

James on September 22, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Do we need any more proof that the War on Drugs is a complete waste of time, money, and resources?

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Right. The government should mind it’s own business when 5 people overdose and die from drugs this quack prescribed – 3 of which, were not even his patients.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM

As a person who has been in chronic pain for 20 years I agree. I have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get enough non-narcotic pain killers to be able to walk.

Why even have pain medicine if they will not give it to those in pain?

Elizabetty on September 22, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Someone have a time machine so I can tell the great men at the consitutional convention that they need to (a) get rid of the words “General Welfare” and (b) be more specific on the commerce clause.

Why did we need an amendment to ban alcohol, but one is not needed for other drug prohibitions?

WashJeff on September 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

This guy was over prescribing so much to his patients that they were selling it on the street, resulting in 3 deaths by overdose.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Once the meds leave the pharmacy, how is it the doctor’s fault that they are used illicitly? I could pass out my Perco’s to the neighbor kids, so in response the government decides to prosecute the doctor who prescribed them?

Bishop on September 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM

This is exactly why government-run health care is a bad, borderline-criminal idea. “For the good of the public”, doctors like Dr. Heberle will be forced out of business; after all, pain medications are misused all the time. Why, just look at the latest issue of “People” magazine. And we can’t POSSIBLY make those who misuse those medications responsible for their actions. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action, as far as the Government is concerned, is to punish those who do nothing more “evil” than prescribe pain medications to people who need them. Much easier, after all. The doctors are all listed in the phone book.
Just imagine the ensuing chaos if (when? G*d forbid.) this kind of foolishness spreads to other areas of the medical community. It’s difficult to find a physician in my small town to begin with…Big Brother would have it become an impossibility.

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Having nearly lost my son to marijuana (he’s one of those who went schizoid), I don’t have a lot of tolerance for anyone growing or smoking marijuana, even as a supposed “pain medicine”; here in California, the “medical marijuana” people are constantly being arrested for selling to the general public.

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Very brave of you to take this issue on Ed… Good for you!

I fall into this category also. Some 25 years ago, I fell 30′ from a roof top and landed on pavement. I busted my body up real good. Following the healing process, I was directed into a pain management program. Fast forward to real time, and my physical condition is this; arthritis in both knees & hands, bursitis in both hips and shoulders, chronic lower back issues w/nerve damage from the fall, and chronic migraine headaches. My doctor is so scared of the government (DEA) that he has cut my medicine down to one tylenol # 3 per day. I live in constant pain, as over the counter pain relief has no effect other than to mess with my stomach. I take my one med before I go to bed hoping for at least 3-4 hours of sleep before the tossing and turning starts. On average, I get a combined 4-5 hours of sleep per night on good nights. I have talked to my doctor about this until I’m blue in the face, and he simply tells me doctor’s are under extreme pressure from the government.

I might add this; over some 25 years I never once increased the medicine, in fact one year after the accident I had reduced the medicine by 50%. When I moved to Montana and moved my medical records to my new doctor, the push back from the new doctor to try non-medicine procedures started immediately. I told him to read my file and he will see that every procedure available had already been tried. To this date, my doctor has not read my file that I’m aware of.

Why don’t I get a new doctor you wonder… I’m in rural Montana where the closet town to me has one doctor. Montana is controlled by clinics rather than private doctors.

Anyway, glad to see you address this issue Ed…

Keemo on September 22, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Once the meds leave the pharmacy, how is it the doctor’s fault that they are used illicitly?

Someone has to take the blame, that’s a liberal mantra. And since liberals are all about not taking personal responsibility, the only one left to blame is the doctor.

Tommy_G on September 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM

More importantly – are they targeting teachers and nurses for “recommending” and overdosing kids on Adderal and Ritalin??? You know, were Johnny seems “riled up” – so a teacher (not a Dr), LPN (school nurse) can make ADD, AHAD a “disease”; of which Johnny turns around and sells them to school kids?

Are people aware of the black market for these 2 drugs? More common than pot and coke combined today in middle to high schools…

Odie1941 on September 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Right. The government should mind it’s own business when 5 people overdose and die from drugs this quack prescribed – 3 of which, were not even his patients.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Yeah, well, the whole point is, it’s not just this doctor in this town. It’s everywhere, and there doesn’t have to be any over-prescribing involved. It’s like toaster manufacturers putting labels on electric toasters that tell you not to use it in or near water…in order to deal with the .01% of the population who is too stupid to put two and two together and figure out that water + electricity = bad thing, the government decides that the entire population must be treated as if they, too, are too stupid to perform this same calculation. When this approach is taken with health care, however, the results will be much worse than merely annoying. In order to protect me from people who abuse prescription medications, I must be punished by being treated like one of those same people. Yeah, great. Bring on the future.

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Once the meds leave the pharmacy, how is it the doctor’s fault that they are used illicitly? I could pass out my Perco’s to the neighbor kids, so in response the government decides to prosecute the doctor who prescribed them?

Bishop on September 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Some do pass their meds to the kids, but generally not by design — the abusers who raid their parent’s meds are called “pharmers” in the vernacular.

Since my wife is quite ill, we have a lot of interesting pills around, and we had to watch them like hawks while my son was going through his drug phase.

MJ is far more susceptable to abuse than any of the other prescription drugs. The “pharmacists” dispensing MJ are frequently caught selling excess stock to the general public (something you’d never see a real pharmacist do).

Or, rather, almost never. My next door neighbor gets her meds mailed from the Kaiser pharmacy, and one of the pills she gets for pain management is an opiate. She says she counts all the pills she gets, of whatever type, and about one out of every three dispenses she’s short one of the opiate pills. They never short her on any other type, so she thinks the pharmacists filling the bottles are diverting stock… [She hasn’t complained to Kaiser because, as she puts it “how can you prove it short of making them count the pills in front of you on a counter?”

My son’s girlfriend just came off chemo and was also prescribed opiates for pain management. When they reviewed the prescription they found that she was allowed 99 refills (the code for infinite), while the real number should have been 3, per the doctor’s writing. They also found that while they’d gotten one bottle (which was all she needed in the end), at least one other bottle had supposedly been shipped. They had to call the mail order pharmacy and report the discrepancy. I don’t think they were supposed to notice, because the plan she is on pays 100% for meds (no copay).

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:14 AM

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Which is precisely why this nation must have a Toaster Czar.

We will never be a first class nation on a par with Venezuela until we do.

connertown on September 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM

“Having nearly lost my son to marijuana (he’s one of those who went schizoid), I don’t have a lot of tolerance for anyone growing or smoking marijuana, even as a supposed “pain medicine”; here in California, the “medical marijuana” people are constantly being arrested for selling to the general public.

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.”

I hate to break it to you, but the weed didn’t turn your child schizo.

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Which is precisely why this nation must have a Toaster Czar.

We will never be a first class nation on a par with Venezuela until we do.

connertown on September 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM

I hear ya. I nominate the Pillsbury Doughboy.

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Once the meds leave the pharmacy, how is it the doctor’s fault that they are used illicitly? I could pass out my Perco’s to the neighbor kids, so in response the government decides to prosecute the doctor who prescribed them?

Bishop on September 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM

If you are giving it away in quantities to neighborhood kids to cause fatal overdoses, there is the question as to whether you needed it to begin with. So, why did the doctor prescribe it to you? So, yeah, it is his fault.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Yeah, well, the whole point is, it’s not just this doctor in this town.

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM

You can stop right there. I am not going to discuss mythical cases with mythical case facts as if they are real. The issue is Fisher. He may have beat the rap, but he is no innocent.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Whine, whine, whine…just take another toke and forget about it, AP…

We’re losing the War on Drugs…legalized them!

We’re losing the War on Terrorism…legalize it!

We’re losing the War on Crime…legalize it!

We’re losing the War on Infanticide…legalize it!

We’re losing the War on Hunger…legalize it – h3ll, make it mandatory!

We’re losing the War on Common Sense…outlaw it!

We’re losing the War on

Knott Buyinit on September 22, 2009 at 10:35 AM

The issue is Fisher. He may have beat the rap, but he is no innocent.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 10:24 AM

No, bud, the issue is every doctor, in every state. And not just pain management specialists. Assuming you have your facts in order – I again refer you to the toaster analogy. In order to “protect” us from unscrupulous over-prescribers, the Government will, and does, punish us by treating every physician like they are one of those over-prescribers. Let the government take over every facet of health care, and watch the fun. Good luck getting an appointment, much less any kind of “potentially abused” treatment.
Perhaps Fisher is no innocent – but must every doctor who prescribes opiates be treated as if they are doing something evil by simply doing their job?

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:35 AM

America, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the “land of the free”.
Amerika, we have the Highest prison population per capita in the world! More than communist china.

Keep up that “war on drugs” it’s working out great!

Sad

jsunrise on September 22, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Someone have a time machine so I can tell the great men at the consitutional convention that they need to (a) get rid of the words “General Welfare” and (b) be more specific on the commerce clause.

Why did we need an amendment to ban alcohol, but one is not needed for other drug prohibitions?

WashJeff on September 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

“General Welfare”

Someone.. (a judge… I foget) wrote a letter to John Adams about “General Welfare”. His response was that there was nothing special at all about it… that is merely referenced the enumerated powers SPECIFICALLY STATED in Article I, Section 8…. it’s in the Federalist Papers and, again, I forget which.

All this BS we see that is based on “General Welfare” was NEVER INTENDED to be permitted.

CC

CapedConservative on September 22, 2009 at 10:45 AM

They save the over medication until they nursing home resident is on hospice. Then they dope them up so much (whether in pain or not) that they can’t take in enough food and water to survive. They normally then expire from renal shutdown and failure.

I know; It was how my mother went (but she had long been ready to go, considering what life of the bedridden blind is like in a nursing home).

michaelo on September 22, 2009 at 10:45 AM

If you are giving it away in quantities to neighborhood kids to cause fatal overdoses, there is the question as to whether you needed it to begin with. So, why did the doctor prescribe it to you? So, yeah, it is his fault.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Absolute BS.

By your flawed logic, we would hold automobile dealers responsible for every drunk driving accident and driver.

It comes down to personal responsibility for your own actions, something that leftists, and apparently you, avoid at every turn.

AW1 Tim on September 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

knowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Not necessarily true. Several studies have shown that MJ can trigger psychosis. I don’t have the ref handy, but you can do a search on PubMed. This may be due to a genetic predisposition, so if one has a family history of schizophrenia it’s probably best to avoid it.

BTW, I thought the Won’s answer to every ailment was a pain pill? If we can’t even get that what’s the point of Obamacare?

drflykilla on September 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

This guy was over prescribing so much to his patients that they were selling it on the street, resulting in 3 deaths by overdose.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Hilariously bad logic. The doctor wasn’t involved in illegal activity…several judges have already made that clear. If I purchase beer from a liquor store, for example, and give it to underage children, the store is not at fault…I am.

And yes, government should mind it’s own business. It can’t determine what treatment is appropriate for every patient in the United States. I’m less worried about patients acting badly and more concerned about letting a board in Washington determine what’s “appropriate” treatment for whatever ails me.

Asher on September 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I’m convinced like never before that we try to live too long in America. We’ve got people in pain for 30 years. That’s ridiculous. In the good old days, men smoked & drank, and ate things that weren’t that good for them and had the good taste to die shortly after they retired. Some didn’t make it that long. Today we have men worried about health so they can live into their eighties and they get to fill their diapers & draw $$ from a bankrupt social security. I say we go back to the 50s thinking!

Jeff from WI on September 22, 2009 at 10:53 AM

I suffer from chronic pain from spinal injuries, and my doctor has prescribed opiates as a treatment of last resort. It not only has been effective, but has allowed me to undergo physical therapy, which has in turn, reduced my need for the opiates.

But my physician is probably unique. I’m afraid most would allow their patients to suffer rather than taking chances.

stonemeister on September 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM

The safety of Mj has been tested over billions of people and literally trillions of wildly varying doses. It is a mild sedative hypnotic and you are far more likely to burn yourself from the flame of lighting the matches than from the drug.

Prohibition has failed. The question is, where do we go from here.

GunRunner on September 22, 2009 at 11:09 AM

But I thought ogabe said when we get old instead of medical treatment for out ailments we should just take a pain pill!

Hmm.

Spiritk9 on September 22, 2009 at 11:12 AM

And yes, government should mind it’s own business. It can’t determine what treatment is appropriate for every patient in the United States. I’m less worried about patients acting badly and more concerned about letting a board in Washington determine what’s “appropriate” treatment for whatever ails me.

Asher on September 22, 2009 at

I can see in the not-too-distant future a government form used to “qualify” you for pain medication (because government knows what’s good for you):

1. How much pain are you in?
2. How did you vote in the last election?
3. Have you considered suicide? If not, why not?

We need government OF the people…not government ON the people!!!

landlines on September 22, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Prohibition (alcohol) brought us organized crime and restriction on personal freedom.

The War on Crime & War on Drugs have brought us more of the same.

Abuse is a personal responsibility issue, not governmental regulatory issue.

AZ_Redneck on September 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM

THIS MAKES ME SO GO*&^%$# MAD I COULD SPIT!!!!

I have suffered from chronic pain for nearly a decade and it has taken YEARS to get a doctor to treat the pain efficiently because of this very issue. You would not BELIEVE the hoops I have to jump through just to get a month’s worth of medication so I can shuffle through my life. My pain meds are NOT for fun they are for my very existence. Even with my medication there are days and sometimes weeks when I can barely move, much less function. My home is falling apart because I cannot get a job. The second prospective employers find out I’m a chronic pain patient I never hear from them again, but with the attitude of the government, who can blame them? Who wants a junkie on the payroll. And aren’t all chronic pain patients on medication junkies? As far as the government is concerned that sure must be the case.

To be honest, I doubt I could even hold a part time job, but since it takes upward of a year to get disability (and the only sure way to GET disability anymore is to term yourself a recovering or active junkie anyhow) I have no idea what the hell else to do.

My doc knows I probably should have a higher dose of my medication, but doesn’t want to up the amount because of regulations. I can’t blame him at all. Instead, we try other options, but they do not work as effectively as the medication. And I can’t even begin to describe to you the absolute misery faced by some who need pain medication but cannot find a doctor who feels safe prescribing anything. How many end of life patients suffer needlessly because of this issue? I can tell you the number has GOT to be MILLIONS.

I get so angry when I see cases like Anna Nicole, Michael Jackson and the like. It’s ridiculous that these people, because they’re rich and have no moral concern for others, were able to find what THEY needed to feed their addiction but those like myself who suffer from debilitating pain have to live in fear.

To be safe, I have to guard my medication and prescriptions in a LOCK BOX! If either is stolen, my doctor will not replace them, even with a police report, because so many doctor shoppers and junkies who abuse pain medication use this very ruse as a way to get more. It’s DISGUSTING.

I should not have to be afraid I might lose a pill or prescription because others abuse the system. Yet that’s how it is. If you NEED the medication you can’t get it or at the very least you have to be held on a leash like a frigging dog.

All this said, I do NOT support government interference in medical anything. The whole reason this is so screwed up is BECAUSE the government has its nose into the issue.

Pain management is a field in which we are losing more doctors than we are training. The reason is government regulation and malpractice along with an insane belief that anyone in need of pain medication is a junkie in training just waiting for a chance to get high.

To anyone who tells me how “lucky” I am to be on pain medication I always say “I’ll trade you my pain medication ALONG with the pain I live with for my LIFE back any damned day.”
Please forgive the length of this post and the swears. It’s an issue that I get a little upset about.

Mad Mad Monica on September 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

And just for the record, since I’m sure there are plenty out there who will question my motives: I have Parkinson’s Disease, fibromyalgia, a deteriorating spine and diabetes. I suffered from the fibromyalgia for six years before anyone would even consider pain medication. It took the loss of function in one arm, the inability to walk beyond a shuffle and the inability to even turn my head to the left before pain medication became an option. As my condition deteriorates, I’m sure I will face many other difficulties which will demand pain control to overcome. I hope to God Obama and his goons do not get control of my medical care. Otherwise I’m sure I’ll be one of the first shoved off the deep end.

I do believe there needs to be some regulation of pain medication. Our society is such that there will always be those who abuse such gifts. But the current regulations result in far more pain and suffering than they need to.

Mad Mad Monica on September 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Mad Mad Monica on September 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Damn, Monica. I am so, so sorry that you are in such pain. I know it’s hard to even get fibromyalgia properly diagnosed, much less treated. I don’t blame you for getting “a little upset”.
I pray that The One gets his a** handed to him on Obamacare. Otherwise, G*d help the rest of us.

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

You have no idea what you are talking about, do you?

If you had ever used Marinol (as I have), you would have a very different idea about its potential for abuse, as opposed to raw Cannabis. It is is far more potent, far more intoxicating, and far more abusable than raw Cannabis.

So do us, and yourself a favor… more reading, and less posting. Maybe you’ll get off “stuck on stupid”.

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 11:46 AM

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

First, let me say, I’m sorry about your son but some of your information is just wrong. I’ve been in chronic pain for almost 10 years now due to severe retina problems and glaucoma. I’ve got a prescription for the THC pill form and it doesn’t work well for me because it’s too strong and I’m unable to function when taking it. And there’s no cutting of the pills because it’s in a capsule.

The price tag for those pills is $900 dollars for 30 pills and my insurance doesn’t cover it. But I will do what I have to do to live some sort of a normal, pain free life and if that means I have to break the crazy laws, so be it.

And I’m sure that old arguement will rage in this thread of “I don’t want the potheads driving on the road and killing someone”. I don’t drive, had to surrender my driver’s license and sell my car when I was declared legally blind.

I’m in rural Montana where the closet town to me has one doctor. Montana is controlled by clinics rather than private doctors.

Keemo on September 22, 2009 at 10:03 AM

I understand where you’re coming from too Keemo, but if you lived in a larger city and went looking for pain management, you can then be charged with “doctor shopping” and go to jail for that too.

The Government needs to get out of the doctor’s office.

Knucklehead on September 22, 2009 at 11:48 AM

The issue is Fisher. He may have beat the rap, but he is no innocent.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Your disregard for the basic Constitutional principles underlying the founding of this Republic are duly noted.

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 11:48 AM

No, bud, the issue is every doctor, in every state.

Uh, no.

Assuming you have your facts in order – I again refer you to the toaster analogy.

I have no interest in toasters. Are you now on drugs? LOL

In order to “protect” us from unscrupulous over-prescribers, the Government will, and does, punish us by treating every physician like they are one of those over-prescribers. Let the government take over every facet of health care, and watch the fun. Good luck getting an appointment, much less any kind of “potentially abused” treatment.

Again, I’m not interested in mythical cases with mythical facts.

Perhaps Fisher is no innocent – but must every doctor who prescribes opiates be treated as if they are doing something evil by simply doing their job?

uncivilized on September 22, 2009 at 10:35 AM

They aren’t.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Your disregard for the basic Constitutional principles underlying the founding of this Republic are duly noted.

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 11:48 AM

And you’re a whackjob as previously noted.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 11:54 AM

And you’re a whackjob as previously noted.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Such wit, such sparkling repartee. /sarc

Blake, I’d like to say that I expect so much more from you…

… but I can’t. I expect just about that much from you.

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 12:04 PM

All this BS we see that is based on “General Welfare” was NEVER INTENDED to be permitted.
CapedConservative on September 22, 2009 at 10:45 AM

I just want to tell them that they are wrongly assumming people will get smarter in the future and love liberty just as much as they did.

WashJeff on September 22, 2009 at 12:16 PM

I hate to break it to you, but the weed didn’t turn your child schizo.

uknowmorethanme on September 22, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Given that you know nothing, you are in no position to break anything to me. If I’m wrong, and I know more than you — well, let’s just leave it there.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 12:26 PM

With computerization of medical records, overprescribing & dr. shopping should eventually become a thing of the past.
Drs need to start sharing patient info & actually READ their patients files.
Patients who Dr shop for meds need to be prosecuted for trying to obtain more meds than they need.
Medical costs are so high not only bcs of Medicare/caid abuse & govt meddling, but bcs of stupid frivolous lawsuits that have no scientific basis, like autism being cause by vaccines, etc.
It is horrendous how much malpractice insurance costs.

Badger40 on September 22, 2009 at 12:30 PM

So do us, and yourself a favor… more reading, and less posting. Maybe you’ll get off “stuck on stupid”.

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 11:46 AM

I was stuck on stupid, but not any more. I got my son back, and I know what took him away.

So, since you are so right, no marinol either.

The guys trying to genetically eliminate THC from hemp are on the right track — especially since the “hairs” are recessive… If they win, within a generation, marijuana won’t be problem any more.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Hilariously bad logic. The doctor wasn’t involved in illegal activity…several judges have already made that clear. If I purchase beer from a liquor store, for example, and give it to underage children, the store is not at fault…I am.

Asher on September 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I suspect this goes on far more than is publicized. The doctor was scammed by his patient, and if he were a better doctor, he wouldn’t have been. Strip him of his license, and the problem of street dealing in his area is solved.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Prohibition (alcohol) brought us organized crime and restriction on personal freedom.

The War on Crime & War on Drugs have brought us more of the same.

Abuse is a personal responsibility issue, not governmental regulatory issue.

AZ_Redneck on September 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Tall buildings brought us 9/11.

The War on Terror brought us more of the same.

Terror is a personal responsibility issue, not governmental regulatory issue.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 12:35 PM

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 12:30 PM

The guys trying to genetically eliminate THC from hemp are on the right track — especially since the “hairs” are recessive

Once again, proving that you really have no idea of which you speak. just what “haris” are you speaking of, eh? How’s that effort at genetically eliminating THC going, hmmm?

If they win, within a generation, marijuana won’t be problem any more.

Not that marijuana is really a problem now, but…

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

(takes a deep breath…) SNORT…SNORT..

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Oh, man, that’s a knee-slapper…

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM

JohnGalt23 on September 22, 2009 at 12:41 PM

LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL
LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

**snorts**

Knucklehead on September 22, 2009 at 1:02 PM

This guy was over prescribing so much to his patients that they were selling it on the street, resulting in 3 deaths by overdose.

Blake on September 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Sorry, I’ve got to jump on too. I fail to see how the doctor writing the prescriptions to his patients is responsible for the bad behavior of a few of his numbnut patients. He didn’t force them to go on the street and sell the drugs. How is it his fault? If the patients were coming up with more meds than they needed isn’t it their responsibility to tell the doc. they don’t need that much?

4shoes on September 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Its easy to look down your nose at someone defending the use of narcotics but spend a few weeks in chronic pain and your view point changes immediately.

Doctors should have the freedom to prescribe what they want without worrying about being jailed or investigated. Its the nanny state at its finest.

Its like the gun argument. Drugs dont kill people, people kill people. Taking away certain medicines because of a few who abuse or use it illegally is like taking away guns because a few commit crimes or do something stupid.

How can you not see the hypocrisy in defending guns but not medication?

alecj on September 22, 2009 at 1:41 PM

My 2cents…
Yes, it is the responsibility of the patient to honestly communicate their true needs to their doctor. I’m one of the unlucky who suffer chronic pain. My family doctor would have nothing to do with me for fear of prosecution. I am fortunate that I was referred to a pain specialist that so far has no fear prescribing the drugs that are needed. But it’s not so easy. I do have to check in every 3 months and be interviewed as to my pain levels and how each drug is working. I also sign a contract that says I will follow every rule the Dr lists and if I break any I will lose the ability to obtain the pain meds from him.

In 2003 I broke my hip while bike riding and seriously damaged the nerve running down my leg. Even with the medication I take, I still wake up literally screaming from the pain at least once a week. It feels like my leg is on fire. So I am happy to abide by the Dr’s rules in the contract. I’m only 49. I am able to work full time and even be active as long as I have a dr. that is not afraid to be prosecuted.
I fear what would happen if the government controls pain management.

hoosierken on September 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM

alecj,

I agree that some are quite judgmental re: presciption meds.

I suffered from a horseback riding accident 9 years ago, and have somehow managed to function w/o narcotics all but 2 months of those 9 years…but not very well. I was mainly doing so in an effort not to get my dr in “trouble”, but also b/c of the addiction/withdrawal issues. Was trying to avoid those, if possible.

I can tell you, after 2 back surgeries and the fact my back is getting worse (again), that I’m about to reconsider my efforts and just take what I should have years ago. Having trouble walking again, and deterriorating discs is hard to handle when in the lumbar region (since all you do revolves around that location).

I’ve also been off all my meds, all non-narcotics, for 4 months, in an effort to conceive, and it’s been the most painful time I’ve had since my last surgery 3 years ago. I’m surprised I lasted w/o non-narcotics for 9 years, but do go w/o any meds at all is awful…

Yes, it’s easy to get addicted. Yes, most/all do get addicted…but it’s a medical/physical addiction, not the standard psychological addiction many assume it is. And when the only relief one gets is when unconscious, well, you figure out why we choose not to suffer more than absolutely necessary. We already suffer enough with them…

Miss_Anthrope on September 22, 2009 at 2:18 PM

hoosierken,

Is that nerve running down the back of your thigh? If so, it’s your sciatic.

And I KNOW how that hurts…both of mine are messed up, but not from pinched nerves, broken bones, things like that. It’s my piriformis muscle that constricts…constantly!

At least I can lie on lacrosse balls for some relief, but not much.

I even had my peronial nerve (outside of calf) malfunction back in 2003…couldn’t flex my foot for 2 months. These are very scary issues to deal with in your 30′s!!! (Just made it to 40 this year..so all this started at 31.)

Miss_Anthrope on September 22, 2009 at 2:22 PM

I will have to come back to read the comments because I’m short on time, but something posted on HotAir the other day got me thinking about the subject. I think it was a post that dealt with whether or not it’s morally justified to forbid the common man/woman from unfettered access to opiates such as heroin and morphine, on the spurious grounds that the only possible use of those must be somehow illicit, abusive or recreational.

For those in chronic, debilitating pain, nothing could be further from the truth. For such people, as long as they are given/take just enough to kill the pain but no more — so they don’t get the psychoactive effects associated with abuse — they never develop the psychological addictions that [can] result from traditional abuse of drugs. And neither do they “deserve” the same scorn and derision we heap upon drug addicts, even though they are potentially administering the same substances in the same ways as are drug abusers.

And who is the Federal government to say that someone cannot be trusted to acquire such medication on their own and administer it? Does *every* conceivably dangerous action require a nanny from “Big Med” present? (If so, why don’t they all require us to have chauffeurs, or better yet, make us all ride the bus?)

Until recently the retort has been, why not get the doctor to administrer it for you (as if not wanting a doctor involved implied an ulterior or sinister motive).

NOW we learn that doctors themselves are being pressured to reduce or withhold treatment, based on no good reasons that anyone can produce, and compelled only by the sheer power of Big Government to brand medical professionals as outlaws.

That’s when I realized that our civil rights were being violated. I call this one the Right to Kill Pain.

Those of you who are arguing that you don’t want Big Government to take over medical care in this country, on the grounds that it violates our rights for the State to have control over our bodies — and you would be correct — must understand that they have *already* done so by abrogating the Right to Kill Pain. If you beg long and hard enough you may be given some pain medication but there is no longer any pretense that you’re *entitled* to kill pain. And, more and more, neither is your doctor.

We can have a civil debate as to whether or not U.S. citizens have the Right to Get High, and God knows good people can disagree on that one, but I hope that everyone can agree that the Right to Kill Pain — nerve impulses that provide slow torture for millions, tax the living and working potential of many, stress bodily organs and shorten life spans — must be preserved if not restored in this country. I see no conceivable, defensible justification for what the unnamed three-letter agencies are doing to infringe on these rights.

RD on September 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM

As someone who lived through a life-threatening pancreatectomy at age 34, the pain that radiates from my pacreas to my lower back from muscle, nerve, & tissue damage will be with me for the rest of my life-but I’ll take that & the other conditions from the surgery over certain death without it. I now see my pain management doctor cutting down my pain meds (instead of helping me find something that works. After 11 years of debilitating pain, I have built a tolerance for the mild dosage I have now & he tells me to find another way besides meds for pain relief, to which I have not been able. I some times am in so much pain the only temporary relief I can get is lying on my coffee table with my knees pulled up to my chest.

For 15 years I worked for the “evil” health insurance industry up close & personal with not only the clients whose accounts I managed, but their employees. For the few horror stories (including my own as my employer/health insurance provider who at first denied my surgery as “not medically necessary” due to it being rare for my age. The only “advantage” I had getting it approved was the same that is offered to every health insurance consumer, which was knowing the emergency appeals process) that I heard, there were hundreds of success stories.

Despite the pain in my back from the surgery, the only time I ever missed work because of it was after my surgery which was a year for my recovery because of the intensity of the surgery. The doctors told me I would qualify for permanent SSD, but I & all my family in the room all said “NO” in unison as I did not want that. I got laid off in December 2008 & going stir crazy from not working. Unfortunately, my wonderful state The People’s Republic of NJ so graciously offered us limited access to a vocation counselor who told us in January & again last week there are “no jobs in NJ”. I am almost halfway to a Masters (where I am using The Dangers of Socialized Medicine in America as the theme towards my thesis capstone) with 20 years professional experience & I am applying for every job including entry level clerical jobs but still nothing. I could not go back to working in the capacity of insurance industry because I physically could no longer handle the intensity that kind of job requires. Despite what people think of health insurance companies, they are for a large majority, not “greedy” or “evil”. My bosses were two of the greatest I ever had.& nearly everyone of us as employees went above & beyond for our clients & members.

I am terrified of what’s happening as if I don’t find a job soon (my husband lost his job too) we’ll lose our house & everything. What savings we did have are gone from both of us having major surgeries. I am also terrified of stories like this & what I learned from my grad school research about”Universal Healthcare”. As someone who also worked in public healthcare with Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries for our county government & I know their list of exclusions for rx grows when the bureaucrats feel a class of medications is being “over-prescribed. Dick Morris predicted this would happen with lower back treatment. I have to pay $555/month for COBRA that only for me to have this insurance & if I lose it without finding another job, BHO’s plan eliminates individual coverage, which in NJ is horribly expensive for what you get in benefits.

We have to stop this now so that we don’t jeopardize our system for the 85% that have health insurance who want to keep it & find a solution to cover the real # of that can’t get health insurance, which I think is about 8-10 million.

margategop517 on September 22, 2009 at 4:04 PM

unclesmrgol@12:30
“The guys trying to genetically eliminate THC from hemp are on the right track — especially since the “hairs” are recessive… If they win, within a generation, marijuana won’t be problem any more.”

The meth dealers will love that.

gbear on September 22, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Many times it’s the relatives and friends of folks who have over dosed who clamor for the gov. to do something. In most cases, the persons who overdosed was to blame for the incident. People with severe pollen allergies now have to settle for less effective otc remedies because someone’s irresponsilbe kid used the ingredients of the old , more effective meds to kill him/herself. Short hop to the government using this to fulfill their expectations that we are not capable of making our own decisions. On that front, one would really, really have to work hard to be stupider than our legislators.

jeanie on September 22, 2009 at 4:28 PM

margategop517 – I’m glad you posted & you have at least two problems to juggle right how. One is working around the unnecessary infringments on your right to kill the pain you are dealing with, and the other is the price of & 18-month cap on COBRA. (Funny isn’t it – if you’re Medicare-disabled they give you 36 months on COBRA but only 18 months if you decide to reject that designation.)

On the 2nd issue – since Obama passed the emergency measure cutting the price of COBRA (to $275 a month? don’t remember) you should be paying less than you were — is the insurer still billing you the original amount? I know someone who got their money back (difference between old & new price, retroactive to the month this law went into effect). If you’re eligible I would demand that money back right away.

On the 1st issue – despite the best efforts to obfuscate the issue, I don’t believe the research has ever been challenged that shows heroin *is* less physically addictive than morphine; the problem comes when it is abused. FWIW you should be able to go down to the local pharmacy and get exactly what you need, from Advil to injected morphine, including an injection kit if needed. Another problem is the industry steering people into pills as the only option, as if that is somehow “safer” or “better”, when that can often compound the dependency problem given that dosages are fixed and are rarely matched ideally to your body weight. Injections are not for amateurs either but they do train Type I diabetics to administer injections, and it’s not beyond credulity to imagine we could trust responsible adults with the option to administer pain medication in the same way. You should be able to take *exactly* what you need, no more, no less.

And/or have the procedure done (like Jerry Lewis had) which deadens the nerves in that area, if that ever becomes available for your particular medical situation, so that you never have to suffer pain in that way again.

RD on September 22, 2009 at 5:02 PM

jeanie on September 22, 2009 at 4:28 PM

+1

RD on September 22, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Having nearly lost my son to marijuana (he’s one of those who went schizoid), I don’t have a lot of tolerance for anyone growing or smoking marijuana, even as a supposed “pain medicine”; here in California, the “medical marijuana” people are constantly being arrested for selling to the general public.

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

This is a tragic situation but it does not give you the moral authority to dictate to others what they can and cannot do with their own lives. The death of a child in a school shooting is tragic but it does not mean that all guns should be banned. The daughter of an abusive alcoholic father does not have the authority to ban all alcohol. All drugs, legal or illegal, have different effects on different people and some people are simply incapable of responsibly handling them responsibly. It is simply not the governments business.

Was it the war on drugs that eventually saved your son? No, I’m guessing it was you and your families love and determination to help him that did and that is how it should be.

libertytexan on September 22, 2009 at 5:39 PM

I have a different view of THC on the formulary as a prescription pill; abuse is well nigh impossible. But since these people want their tokes as smokes and claim that the pill form isn’t good enough, no sympathy from me — we had to deal with our son for almost five years as a pothead, and it almost destroyed my family.

unclesmrgol on September 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM

The “pill form” of what?

As a pain medication, pure THC is not only “not good enough”, it is reportedly next to useless.

The pain-killing compounds that help people using medical marijuana are reported to be CBD, another ingredient entirely. Interestingly, CBD supposedly does not even get you “high”. (I don’t know what it does in that regard — maybe somebody in gov’t or pharma should be looking into it?) And I doubt if it has ever “contributed” to anyone’s schizophrenia, assuming marijuana even has that effect. (THC is much more alarming in this regard, and I’m not willing to rule out its exacerbating effects, though I’m not convinced of them either at this point.)

So: If you want to get on a high horse about insisting on pills that no one can “abuse”, at least get the medications straight.

Also: THC by itself (in a pill or otherwise) makes most patients edgy and uncomfortable, if not worse, and I wouldn’t consider it a very sensible or humane form of treatment, for any condition. The science behind the THC pill is less than sound to say the least. AFAIK nobody but the U.S. Federal government and very, very few others ever believed that a “THC pill” was a reputable form of treatment for any condition, except bureaucratic butt-covering. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the gov’t itself thought it to be bogus.

Seems its best use is as a foil, for government to be able to say, “look, we made THC available, what else do you want?”, having learned over the intervening years just how inadequate this “medicine” actually is.

RD on September 22, 2009 at 7:02 PM

Also: THC by itself (in a pill or otherwise) makes most patients edgy and uncomfortable, if not worse…

A correction: This should read “delta-9 THC by itself”, as the comment applies only to the specific isomer of THC used in the pill — only one of many. This is also the reason I put “THC pill” in quotes. The point is, the substance in the pill not even “THC” as it’s largely understood; it’s only one isomer of the compound that is found nowhere in nature in 100% concentrations.

And it is not the only psychoactive isomer of THC by a long shot — which is where the early science that led to this medical malpractice-in-a-pill got it wrong.

RD on September 22, 2009 at 7:26 PM

libertytexan on September 22, 2009 at 5:39 PM

He never gets tired of his clueless opinion of MJ.
And more then likely the troubles were caused by his upbringing. It’s been pointed out by tokers and non-tokers here. And what’s really funny is that the self confessed tokers here make way more sense then the author you are replying to.

Bill Blizzard on September 22, 2009 at 9:42 PM

RD,

Thanks so much for the response. I will call my former employer for the COBRA info to see if I am eligible. My job loss is tied to a civil service/union (THE WORST! My union dues would have been better spent a few miles away from me at the AC casinos, which oddly enough I never visit) appeal so getting anything done with them is like banging my head against the wall, like everything else here in NJ.

As for the nerve injections, I have had several rounds but it never took away all the pain. A lot of the pain comes from my pancreas as it was a radical pancreatectomy from a congenital defect, a structured bile duct, so I have 3/4ths of a pancreas. Plus, they just diagnosed degenerative disc disease and a mild dose of Darvocet doesn’t take it away. I used to be a runner, work 80 hours a week and have a fun life. But now I’m 11 years older, unemployed and in constant pain-but I thank God I am alive! At least I get a lot of laughs from all the comments I read here at Hot Air!

Thanks again for thinking of me.

M

PS-I am so sorry to hear so many of my fellow Hot Air posters are in so much pain. I’ll keep you all and your families in my prayers. I know what it’s like under the stigma of chronic pain, not to mention what it’s like to live life in constant pain.

margategop517 on September 23, 2009 at 1:36 AM

Thanks RD! I will call my former employer to see if I am eligible. I also had several rounds of the nerve blocks but I still have the pain. My pain comes mostly from the radical pancreatectomy, as they had to remove 1/4 of it due to a congenital strictured bile duct. Recently, my pain mgmt doctor told me I have degenerative disc disease but he still has me on the same level of pain meds and wants to reduce the dosage. I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond.

To all my fellow HA posters that also live in chronic pain, I will keep you all in my prayers. It is the least I can do for all the laughs I get reading your posts, especially to the trolls!

margategop517 on September 23, 2009 at 1:56 AM

BTW, I thought the Won’s answer to every ailment was a pain pill? If we can’t even get that what’s the point of Obamacare?

drflykilla on September 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Control.
Why did he say this? Control.
Why is he doing that? Control.
This has only and always been about CONTROL! Control of you, me, everything, and everyone.
But then you knew that didn’t you?

Blacksmith8 on September 23, 2009 at 12:05 PM