Petition for a Redress of Pain


The Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation of Billings, Montana, neurologist Richard A. Nelson has forced him to stop prescribing narcotics, leaving his patients without medication to relieve their pain. Last week some of them tried to draw attention to their plight with a rally outside the local office of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) "I promise to take each concern to Max," the senator's communications director said, adding that there's really nothing Baucus can do, since he has "a strict policy not to interfere with criminal investigations or legal policies," as the Billings Gazette put it.

Pain Relief Network President Siobhan Reynolds, who was in Billings last week for the rally, is trying to alert Montana officials to the threat that the DEA's de facto regulation of medical practice poses to state prerogatives and patient welfare. She'd also like to see Congress, which theoretically oversees the DEA, take an interest in the agency's interference with pain treatment. "We want the senators to realize these are people just like them," she told the Gazette. "This could happen to anybody."