Drug War

Why Would Anyone Object to Government Monitoring of Pain Treatment?


Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen is utterly baffled by Florida Gov. Rick Scott's opposition to an electronic monitoring system for prescription painkillers:

Said Scott: "I don't support the database. I believe it's an invasion of privacy."

His statement raises numerous questions, none of them comforting.

Has Florida finally elected a certifiable whack job as governor?

Is Scott himself overmedicating?


Why would any sane or sober public official go out of his way—very publicly—to protect pill pushers and crooked doctors?

The column goes on like that for another 732 words. Hiaasen never addresses Scott's avowed concern about privacy, except to dismiss it as an issue of interest only to "an ideological extremist who doesn't like any form of government snooping." And Hiaasen seems completely oblivious to the conflict between drug control and pain control—the fact that doctors are less inclined to prescribe opioids, even to legitimate patients in horrible pain, when they worry that regulators, police, and federal drug agents are looking over their shoulders, ready to second-guess every decision and transform honest mistakes or medical disagreements into felonies. The Drug Enforcement Administration likes to pretend this conflict can be resolved through a carefully balanced approach. But it can't. Because pain cannot be verified objectively, there is only so much a conscientious doctor can do to make sure a patient is not a malingerer, an addict, or a drug dealer. At a certain point, he has to choose between trusting his patients and helping the government enforce its arbitrary dictates regarding psychoactive chemicals. If he sides with his patients, he runs the risk of losing his license, his livelihood, and his liberty. If he sides with the government, it is inevitable that some patients will suffer needlessly. Every additional layer of scrutiny only compounds the drug war's chilling effect on pain treatment.

Perhaps Hiaasen would say that stopping people from using Vicodin or OxyContin to get high is so important that it's worth the agony inflicted on people in pain. Maybe he could come up with a moral argument in favor of saving people from themselves by punishing innocent bystanders. But before  taking sides in the controversy over inadequate pain treatment, which has been a topic of passionate discussion for half a century, he would need to be aware that it exists. He could start educating himself here.

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  1. Is this the Carl Hiassen who writes shitty formulaic Florida-based mysteries?

    What a dick.

    1. Yes. And yes.

    2. His utter cluelessness reminds me of the editorial writer from a few years ago who couldn’t understand why we needed so many choices when it came to breakfast cereal. Editorials like that one and this one with its “ideological extremist who doesn’t like any form of government snooping” bit pretty much explain everything you need to know about statists.

    3. He also wrote Striptease, now a 20-year-old major motion picture.

  2. there is only so much a conscientious doctor can do to make sure a patient is not a malingerer, an addict, or a drug dealer.

    At the risk of leaving Hiaasen in a fetal ball on his fainting couch, why does anybody even think that’s necessary?

    1. Clearly because of free riders on our government health care system, naturally. Chad will explain it all to us.

  3. If only Hiaasen could experience daily pain and understand why one might need pain medication. If only the mob could take out his knees to show him this. My statement raises numerous questions, none of them comforting.

    1. “If only Hiaasen could experience daily pain and understand why one might need pain medication.”


    2. If only Hiaasen could experience daily pain and understand why one might need pain medication.

      That wouldn’t do it. Most chronic pain patients don’t have trouble getting treatment and so don’t see the problem. He’d have to be among the minority who are either denied sufficient drugs or have had trouble getting them.

  4. When you can’t make a coherent argument against a position, ad hominem ALL DAY BABY!!

    1. Why the fuck would you use this handle?

      1. You must have missed the Rand Paul appearance on Letterman.

        (I’m not the one who used the handle. Just assuming that is what it’s about. And, yes, I know the risk of assuming.)

  5. In a just world, Carl Hiassen would wake up tomorrow morning and find his entire medical history published by Wikileaks (or some equivalent).

    1. Well, in another alternate universe, Carl Hiassen wakes up in terrible chronic pain, gets a prescription, and then gets flagged in the database as a potential drugseeker, and barred from receiving prescription pain relievers.

      1. In a truly just world, his viagra prescription with extra large dosage to compenistate for his extremely, extremely small penis is revealed. A medical picture of his extremely extremely small penis is posted on the internet and becomes the most viewed picture in history.
        On the Today show, Matt Laurer asks Hiassen what affect the fact that 8 year old girls point at him and giggle has had on his life…
        On the View, the women tell Hiassen that its not the size, but how you use it – and than they all fall out of their chairs raucously laughing. Whoopi says she had a girlfried with a bigger cl*t…

        1. I wouldn’t call it cock-cock.

  6. In a just world, the Carl Hiassens of America would spend their days in intense (but “objectively” unverifiable) pain.

  7. Wow that is some weak writing from Hiaasen.

    Rick Scott rejects unfunded train liabilities, now this. Did anyone predict he would kick so much arse so soon?

    1. I thought he was just another goper. Not as awful as Crist, but still nothing special.

      Im sure he will disappoint me at some point, duh, he is a politician, but he seems better than most.

    2. The really positive thing is that he isn’t beholden to anyone. Everyone in the FLGOP establishment backed his primary challenger. From what I hear at the Capitol, even the GOP legislators are disconcerted. He doesn’t owe anyone any huge favor.

      1. He sure seems more mavericky than that guy the media labeled a maverick so often that I thought they must be talking about Tom Cruise.

  8. HHHAHAHAHAHAHAAH SUCKA! You’ll never stop me from gettin’ my fix! I went to the doctor and WTF IS A PILL MILL and he was like “what do you need?” And I was like my this and that and the other always hurting always sleeping. And I’m allergic to APAP so I need the GOOD STUFF. So he was like sign here sign there 25 dollar copay and out-the-door. Whew!

    I went to the pharmacy with my phat lewt Rx’s and slapped them on the counter, “PILL ME UP, BITCH” I say to the pharmacy tech. Then I pull out my iPHONE and play angry birds~! until I get the Rx’s, out the door with a ROCKSTAR NRG drinx.

    Wash down them pills and IMMA A STEAMIN DELTA DEAMON WOOOOOOHHH!

    1. I’ll have what he’s having…

    2. …I pull out my iPHONE …

      I think this is the critical passage that points out the social justice/regular traditional justice importance of this matter.

      People that can afford iPhones can generally afford to work the system to get pain relief pretty well regardless of the law.

      People that can’t afford iPhones, well, that’s who really needs libertarianism.

  9. Let me [guess], someone made an argument against ObamaCare relating to [medical] privacy in Hiaasen’s presence so the very concept is now [out] of bounds.


  11. Having had to avail myself some years back of the services of a pain specialist (completely effective, BTW and thanks, Dr. Bakos), I am highly empathic to this issue.

    First, really appreciate Hiassen’s complete lack of concern for the very legit privacy concerns. You’re a cocksucker, Hiassen, and I hope you get what I had, but that the treatment is ineffective. You’ll commit suicide within a year to escape the excruciating pain, is my guess.

    Second, there’s no doubt gummint “oversight” causes Dr’s to back off in treatment and practice lots o’ self-protective actions. I’d have gotten my ultimate treatment three months SOONER if we hadn’t needed to waste time going through all the ineffective treatments that didn’t involve Teh Evul Drugz that ultimately worked, just to ensure it didn’t appear that’s all I was after. So I got to endure three months of additional agony instead.

    So – fuck Hiassen, and fuck the government at all levels for getting involved in this. People with “real” pain issues suffer…cause we’re worried some people without “real” pain issues might get Teh Bad Drugzz. Fucking nannies…

  12. One undercover agent sat in a room full of pill buyers being coached by a clinic nurse on how to get their hefty prescriptions filled without attracting attention.

    “Do not go to Walgreens,” the nurse warned. “I can’t say this enough. They are not your friend; they are the enemy.”

    Unlike a certain governor.

    Remember, when you swallow a pill, you swallow bin Laden.

    1. I honestly don’t see why a nurse telling patients the best way to get their PERFECTLY LEGAL prescriptions filled issuch a bad thing.

      1. And it sounds like good advice, as Walgreens isn’t so helpful when you are over your 4 pill a year limit or whatever it is of sudafed because your GODDAMN FACE is MELTING THE FUCK OFF from a cold/flu/virus/allergies.

        1. I work at a Walgreens Pharmacy; I will confirm that we are told by our superiors to think of ourselves as cops instead of healthcare providers. It’s a liability thing, and when government intervention and lawsuits begin happening left and right, the concept of having good relationships with your patients goes out the window.

  13. Don’t forget, kiddies, medical marijuana is bad, because cancer patients smoking pot so they can keep their food down might GET CANCER from smoking it.

  14. Wow, those comments. People on that site actually accuse him of opposing this because he might have investments in big Pharma like a typical republican only interested in profits. Remember, the democrats are good on the WoD.

  15. The real irony of this is that Hiassen was tight with singer/songwriter Warren Zevon who died of cancer. I think there’s a connection between Hiassen and the late journalist Hunter S. Thompson as well, and Thompson was hugely pro-freedom.

    1. I was going to make a similar comment. I’ve always been a little disappointed by WZ’s association with him.

      Speaking of which, “Seminole Bingo” is a lousy song.

      1. I heard it covered by another guy and it was great. I think this was this guy:


        He also covers Blind Willie Johnson’s Soul of a Man nicely.


  16. Drugs are baaaaad.

  17. If you think the column was bad, read the comments.

    1. Drug warrior Democrats. Gotta’ love ’em

      1. No, actually, I don’t.

    2. The commenters there don’t need pain killers, I would skip to prescribing sodium thiopental.

  18. Too bad we’ll never know how Agatha Christie and Mickey Spillane would weigh in on this important issue.

  19. I wonder if this has anything to do with Limbaugh hate? He’s a known pain-pill popper, and he lives in Florida.

    Anyway, we have a pretty strong right of privacy in Florida, including a specific privacy provision in our Constitution.

    1. Read the comments to the article for your answer.

    2. The Drugster? That’s Psycho talk.

    3. Nah. He hates rich people. Its shot through his books. And especially rich Republicans. If Rick Scott is for it, it must be wrong.

  20. I need to find a pill mill.

    1. Do pill mills grind pills into a powder usable for baking?

      1. Yes. Just like the thick paste you can buy at a puppy mill.

        1. OK that is really funny.

  21. I’m starting to like this Scott guy.

  22. Word to wishing some chronic pain on Hiaasen. What a fucking tool; up to now I thought his crimes were mainly against decent genre fiction.

    I’m a chronic pain patient who doesn’t’ currently need daily opioid medication, but I have in the past and I will in the future. The DA’s office here has entered into a “pain treatment initiative” with the local hospital, the hospital with which every local doctor is affiliated. The ER, my neurologist’s office, the pain clinic– they all have instant access to each others records, which they are supposed to use to flag “pill seekers.” Some ER docs are so leery of law enforcement that my neurologist wrote a letter that’s in my file stating that I am not an addict, that I am closely followed medically, and that if I present in the ER with a medication resistant headache I should be given 2 doses of IV dilaudid, 2 mg each, an hour apart. End of story, right? Not quite, since I’ve still had a doctor try to give me compazine instead, in spite of notes saying I can’t tolerate it, and another doctor tell me my neurologist must be mistaken about the dosage and refuse to give me more than 1 mg.

    1. and another doctor tell me my neurologist must be mistaken about the dosage

      Telephones, how the fuck do they work?

  23. Hiaasen sounds like a cold-hearted prick. And here I thought it was supposed to be libertarians who didn’t care about people. Heh.

    My Mother spent her last years in agony because of shit like this. It’s a miracle I didn’t end up in jail because I had a deep desire to fuck some people up over this.

  24. Neocon version:

    Said Scott: “I don’t support the Patriot Act. I believe it’s an invasion of privacy.”

    His statement raises numerous questions, none of them comforting.

    Has Florida finally elected a certifiable whack job as governor?

    Is Scott himself overmedicating?


    Why would any sane or sober public official go out of his way?very publicly?to protect terrorists?

    1. That’s totally different. Because Bush.

  25. I worked on a cancer ward in a teaching hospital for 8 years, and I’ve seen agonizing pain. I have 2 points to make: The government has NO BUSINESS telling anyone what they may or may not put in their own bodies, and—the government has NO BUSINESS telling doctors how much pain medication they should give patients in pain. OK, in some cases, I’ve seen “drug-seekers”; but SO WHAT?! It’s up to the discretion of a doctor-patient relationship, and the patient’s need (or desire) for medication. NOT THE GOVERNMENT, DAMMIT!

  26. 5000 lying junkies getting stoned is a better outcome than 1 terminal cancer patient denied appropriate pain relief.

  27. I met this assnugget on a booksigning tour ten years ago while working at… a book store. He wasn’t all that pleasant to the staff and quit signing books half-way through the line of fans. The only other person I liked less out of those years was Judy Collins who was a total fucking bitch to everyone – even her fans.

    1. James Petterson was pretty col, though I got the feeling he was sizing me up for a character profile. A lot of writers do that to just about everyone they meet.

      1. Patterson, damn it!

    2. From the photo I’m guessing that Ms. Collins was considerably more masculine as well!

    3. Best book signing I ever attended was Annie Leibovitz at a women’s book store. The place was packed (as in hundreds of people). She came in, spoke to the crowd, took questions and then signed hundreds of books.

      One. Class. Act.

      1. The great John Updike signed books after a talk here about a year before he died. He was charming and polite, and gladly signed even for those a-holes who came with two armloads of his books. One lady had a big box full!

        What the hell’s wrong with people?

        1. Don’t tell Warty, but I was in London once when Slayer was on tour there. My friend and I actually went in the record store, but we didn’t buy a CD and get it signed b/c the line was frikkin’ huge.

          1. I waited on a line in +100 degree heat for two hours to get Kerry King’s autograph at an Ozzfest. There were three heat casualties that got taken away by ambulance. Totally worth it.

          2. I met Tom Araya and Dave Lombardo and his wife (?) in a hotel elevator once in San Diego. I was dressed all California surf preppy-like, and they were a bit surprised when I told them I was going to their show that night. It was the early nineties. Quiksilver did not a metalhead wear.

            Cool dudes, though. Pleasant as hell. Every time you guys make a “therapist” joke, I think of Tom Araya’s pre-rock career as a voice therapist, and laugh to myself.

    4. So Hiaasen does book signings? Good to know. A pie in the face is well in order for that assholes prickishness.

      1. A Vicodin pie.

      2. Hmmm. The local B&N always has the book signings in one corner. There is only one camera in the area. The two employee doors are never locked. The one adjacent to the coffee shop wraps around to the one close by where signing take place. Could be in and out of there in fifteen seconds.

    5. Steve Earle was the best.

    6. Oh…I’ll be on the lookout for him on booksigning tours. Thanks for the idea.

  28. Has Florida finally elected a certifiable whack job as governor?

    Compassion always sounds like lunacy to a sociopath.

  29. While reading that, I thought about the videos I’ve seen of pain patients who couldn’t get medication commit suicide. (Note: where I saw the videos, they cut out the final seconds). People in such pain, they chose death instead.

    It’s hard for me not to hope Hiaasen faces the same fate, and soon.

    1. Well, frequent suicide among terminally ill patients does help bend the cost curve.

  30. Remember, folks — when people like the Kochs support Republicans over Democrats, that’s because they only about economic liberty — everyone knows the Democrats are better on civil liberties.

  31. That column is a nice specimen of a certain pitiful little type of evil. It’s worth reading closely.

    Also, it reminds me of a Nick Cave song.

    Well-meaning little therapists
    Goose-stepping twelve-stepping teetotalitarianists

  32. Compassion always sounds like lunacy to a sociopath.


  33. Everyday my respect for the tea-party elected Governors increases a teeny bit. Rick Scott is riding very high in my book right now – refusing the high speed rail boondoggle, and now respect people’s privacy. Excellent. I do believe the national GOP is mostly fucked, but the state GOP seems to be improving big time

  34. The comments are funny in that they nakedly reveal what is by far the most common political philosophy in the country (maybe the world):

    GO TEAM!!

    The specifics on what Scott did or why he did it are irrelevant, he’s a Republican teabagger and so he’s therefore wrong on this issue and worthy of mockery. If the story was exactly the opposite (IE, he was pushing a database and the Dems were opposing it) the same commenters hammering him for this would be hammering him for that.

    It really is all about what team you’re on for some.

  35. This looks like a job for Amazon Bomb! If his books are still in print, that is.

  36. The comments are pretty amazing. I was able to make it through a page-and-a-half.

  37. Perhaps in this way be adequately control the purchase of prescription drugs. But it is difficult to say that the people are going to sign it. Many people like it mentions Findrxonline they buy these drugs in clinics for pain treatment and by these clinics the sale of medicines such as vicodin or hydrocodone have risen in the United States. I think that the first step is to verify that these clinics are regulated and then try to use this system.

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