Scoop: William Fisher: The Oxycops
Chronic pain often requires high doses of narcotic medications on a regular basis for the patient to have any quality of life. This article discusses how the government has "gone overboard" in its' zeal to stop narcotic abuse, particularly with Oxycontin. Doctors and sometimes patients have been arrested and prosecuted related to narcotic pain medication. Many physicians are not willing to prescribe the quantity of narcotics required for the chronic pain patient, for fear of prescribing pain medications to an addict and/or fear of problems with the DEA. Legitimate pain management clinics are run by practitioners (doctors, physicians' assistants, and nurse practitioners) who are willing to prescribe enough pain medication for the patient to be relieved of pain. A legitimate clinic will include diagnostics for pinpointing the cause of pain and most clinics require patients sign and adhere to a strict contract while under care of the pain management clinic. These patient contracts typically include agreements that the patient will only receive pain medications from the pain management program, will keep all appointments, and will comply with recommended follow-up. These clinics do random urine drug screens on these patients and the patient may be terminated from the pain management program for violating the agreement. A legitimate pain mangement clinic is not a "pill mill". Many offer full service pain control therapies, including physical therapy, massage therapy, local injections of anesthetic and/or steroid, injections directly into the joint or vertabrae, and, for more severe pain control, implanted pumps.
Perhaps the DEA and local law enforcement will find a "happy medium" between protecting the public from narcotic trafficking and allowing patients who suffer from chronic pain to get appropriate pain management treatment.