October 23, 2001—The Palliative Care Law Project of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain strongly endorse and support the Statement on Prescription Pain Medications issued jointly today by the DEA and a wide range of health care organizations. It is an important step toward reducing one of the major barriers to effective pain management in the United States—physicians’ fears of regulatory or criminal sanctions for good-faith prescription of opioids.
The National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain is an organization of individuals who have experienced the misery of under treated and untreated intractable chronic pain and the stigma associated with being “on drugs” for pain management. Physicians who have been intimidated by fears of prosecution or license loss have abandoned many of its members. The Bazelon Center’s Palliative Care Law Project was created to identify and address legal barriers to pain and symptom management for those who live and die in pain. The Project represents both patients who have been denied treatment and physicians who have been inappropriately charged with fostering diversion of opioids.
These two organizations support every element of the Consensus Statement. It identifies many of facts that necessitate such a consensus. However, to those facts, The Bazelon Center and the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain would add the following:
By these statements, neither the Palliative Care Law Project nor the National Foundation for the Treatment of pain impute bad motives to law enforcement agencies or their personnel. We recognize that like untreated pain, diversion and abuse are also both serious public health problems. We call on the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to take specific steps to bring the Consensus Statement to life. These include:
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Palliative Care Law Project
Mary Baluss, Project Director
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
1101 15th St. NW, Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005
Visit the Bazelon Center Website
The National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain
Dr. Joel Hochman
National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain
1111 Heights Blvd.
Houston TX 77708
(713) 862-9332 (phone)
Visit the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain's Website
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