DEA Causes Real Pain, Says NY Times


The New York Times' personal health columnist takes on an issue that Reason has been addressing for years–the Drug Enforcement Administration's jihad against doctors who try to treat chronic debilitating pain in their patients. Brody cites a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine, "The Big Chill: Inserting the D.E.A. Into End-of-Life Care," warning that if the government

oversteps its legitimate role and expertise, allowing DEA agents, trained only to combat criminal substance abuse and diversion, to dictate to physicians what constitutes acceptable medical practice for seriously ill and dying persons, it will undermine palliative care and pain management for the much larger number of seriously ill patients in all states. Physicians may become hesitant to prescribe the best available medications to manage the pain, agitation, and shortness of breath that sometimes accompany the end stages of illness. As a result, they may, in essence, abandon patients and their families in their moment of greatest need.

Thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the DEA, when patients die screaming in agony, they'll at least die clean and sober.