Both Sides Now—and We Hate That

Over at The Huffington Post, reason contributor Maia Szalavitz notes that Kansas physician Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, who are accused of drug trafficking through improper painkiller prescriptions, have managed to get their side of the story out with the help of the Pain Relief Network. The usual practice in cases like this is to convict the defendant in the press, which typically depicts his practice as nothing but a "pill mill" and rarely covers patients who are grateful for desperately needed pain relief. In the Schneiders' case, Szalavitz writes, "The AP has covered the story as one with two sides—including the legitimate need for access to pain relief, not just focusing on the prosecution's storyline of evil doctors pushing patients into addiction." Federal prosecutors have responded by seeking a gag order that would not only prevent the Schneiders and their lawyers from publicly discussing the case but silence Pain Relief Network President Siobhan Reynolds as well. Shouldn't they also have asked the judge to prevent people from talking about the gag order?

Szalavitz on pain doctor prosecutions here. More reason coverage of the subject here.

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  • Elemenope||

    How could the gag on the PRN president be even remotely legal? It's not like he's a party to the case.

  • Taktix®||

    Excuse my ignorance in regard to the idea of a gag order. As I'm sure there's a lively debate about its merits and drawbacks, could some one tell me how, exactly, is a court order not to speak constitutional?

    Sometimes I feel like I wake up in bizarro-U.S., wondering how the hell to get back home...

  • TallDave||

    Soon we'll have no rights at all, but at least our kids will grow up in a world where there are no drugs drug dealers are rich and police are despised and distrusted.

  • ||

    The War on Drugs the Constitution continues unabated.

    Fuck those prosecutors. They can kiss my royal American, freedom lovig ass. If any judge signs off on this, fuck him or her as well.

  • ||

    TallDave, in your police description you left out "corrupt".

  • ||

    Federal prosecutors have responded by seeking a gag order that would not only prevent the Schneiders and their lawyers from publicly discussing the case but silence Pain Relief Network President Siobhan Reynolds as well.

    You can get a gag order on lawyers for a pending case, who are under an ethical obligation not to prejudice the jury pool. I have no idea how gagging a defendant is Constitutional, though.

  • PJ Doland||

    Who is responsible for today's third H&R post with a Joni Mitchell reference in the title?

  • ||

    Wow! The second Joni allusion today!

    I am duly impressed. Literary obscurity is so bonerific.

  • ||

    "Who is responsible for today's third H&R post with a Joni Mitchell reference in the title?"

    I missed one!


    (scrambling)

  • CFroh||

    As someone professionally connected to Pain Relief Network, and as a long-time libertarian, I can't begin to tell you how this gig has hardened by views. To sit in a federal courthouse and watch an eminent physician get sentenced to prison for doing his or her job - relieving pain - is just Orwellian.

    And then there's all the patients who can't get other doctors to give them medicine - the State doesn't care about their screams of pain. Thank goodness 3 Reason writers - Jacob, Radley and Maia - are always exposing DoJ's and DEA's evil attacks on individuals.

    Check out www.PainReliefNetwork.org, to see an article Siobhan just posted, about descendants of witches trying to get exoneration for their ancestors: as hard as it is to get Congress to repeal the Drug War, it will end up being the descendants of today's incarcerated doctors who will be the ones trying to clear their good ancestors' names.

  • Metal Messiah||

    It's far better that we let one thousand sick people needlessly suffer than to let one person abuse prescritption painkillers.

    This is AMERICA, dammit! We have moral standards.

  • miche||

    The doc is very reluctant to write for certain narcotics. Fear of this very type of witch hunt is the reason. The saddest part is arresting doctors who treat pain does nothing to curb addiction.

    This new(er/est) war on Rx drugs (and even the war on illicit drugs to a large degree) creates an adversarial relationship between doc and patient with the physician being either fearful to treat chronic pain or looking for tells that might indicate a lying patient. The flip side is patients being fearful to mention addiction to illicit substances and therefore compromising care.

    It is long past the time at which this whole war on any drug should have been forfeited by our government and police agencies. It's too costly in lives and dollars to punish people for deviating from a bureaucrat's (often misguided and usually flat out wrong) ideas of health and medication- it should be a personal, private health issue.

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