The DEA, Diversion and the War on Drugs:
A Call to Action
Write to your representatives and tell them that you
support a more rational approach to the prevention of drug diversion and
abuse that emphasizes education over law enforcement. You should cite
specific bills in Congress and other proposals that you want your
representatives to either support or oppose. Then put your time and money to work. Support those
representatives who support you. Work to defeat representatives who
don't support you. Actively assist any candidate for office
who has the courage to speak out on the issues that are important to
Dispelling the Myths about Opioids
Opioids are not the answer to every pain problem or even every severe
pain problem. They are serious and, if abused, dangerous drugs. However,
every patient should receive consideration of pain that is not clouded
by ignorance or unreasonable fear of particular medications...
The DEA War on Doctors
The DEA has focused a tremendous amount of time and resources on the
prescriptions issued by practicing physicians It's easy to see why.
Doctors keep records. They pay taxes. A physician's considerable assets
can be divided up among the various law enforcement agencies
investigating him before he's ever brought to trial...
The DEA War on Hydrocodone
The DEA wants to classify hydrocodone the same way it does Oxycodone. If
hydrocodone became less available, we could expect potentially 8,000
more deaths from stroke and heart attack every year. And, although
there's no way to reasonably estimate the number of people who will
suffer bouts of depression, thoughts of suicide and actually commit
suicide after being denied adequate pain medication because of the DEA's
increasingly draconian measures, it's safe to assume that number will be
in the millions...
Audit Faults DEA Mishandling of
"For most seizures we tested, we found no documentation
indicating that a
witnessing agent or task force officer was present at critical stages of the
cash handling process. Further, we found many instances in which agents
and task force officers generally did not count the seized currency; did not
provide a receipt to the subject from whom the currency was taken; did not
complete documents transferring custody of the currency to an evidence
custodian; and did not record the receipt, transfer, or disposal of the
currency in a temporary or permanent control ledger."
Drug wars: Menace to America
The side effects of the imposition of the moralistic model of the "War
on Drugs" have been far worse than the drugs themselves. This illicit mercantile
enterprise creates nightmares that primarily affects the poor. The failure of
leaders at all levels to address this economic reality must be blamed for this
growing social problem...
DEA Abuses and Fear Tactics Impact Pain Management
No one questions that abuse of opiate painkillers is a problem. But federal
and state law enforcement agents, who wield considerable power in deciding
whether to initiate investigations, as well as the prosecutors and jurors who
determine a doctor's fate if the case goes to trial, are often misled by
obsolete ideas about the practice of pain medicine and the effects of opiate
The Same Mistake
Legalizing drugs would simultaneously reduce the amount of crime and
improve law enforcement. It is hard to conceive of any other single
measure that would accomplish so much to promote law and order. But, you
may ask, must we accept defeat? Why not simply end the drug traffic?
That is where experience both with Prohibition and, in recent years,
with drugs is most relevant. We cannot end the drug traffic...
Doctors and Patients are the Latest Drug War Casualties
There are tens of millions of Americans in chronic pain, some of it
unimaginably severe. At the same time, we have an abundant supply of drugs
with a proven record in alleviating their suffering. It’s shameful that
America’s backward, uncompromising drug war has built an ever-widening schism
between the two...
Common Myths About Using Opiates to Treat
Many patients think that if they "tough it out” this time it
won't be as bad next time. That doesn't work. The opposite is true. Pain
weakens a person. It weakens the immune system. It does not build
character. Pain should be treated immediately and effectively. Physical dependence is a normal response to sustained opiate therapy and
is not important to a patient as long as the drug is not stopped
Study on Abuse of Prescription Drugs Contradicts DEA Assertions
Conventional wisdom suggests that the abuse potential of
opioid analgesics is such that increases in medical use of these drugs
will lead inevitably to increases in their abuse. The data from this
study with respect to the opioids in the class of morphine provide no
support for this hypothesis...
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Federal and state officials now have the power to seize your business, home,
bank account, records and personal property--all without indictment, hearing or
trial. Everything you have can be taken away at the whim of one or two federal
or state officials. Regardless of sex, age, race or economic situation, we are
all potential victims. According to one estimate, in more than 80% of
asset-forfeiture cases the property owner is not charged with a crime, yet
government officials usually keep seized property...
Rethinking Drug Prohibition
While the Prohibitionists pompously insist they occupy the moral high
ground—the last refuge when truth has evaporated from one's position—the
reformers seem lately to have the facts squarely on their side, to such an
extent that the Prohibitionists, even the vaunted Drug Czar, refuse to enter
into public debate with them. Instead, Prohibitionists content themselves in
issuing inflammatory propaganda from the safety of their inner sanctums, and
sponsoring bogus "research" while denying the efforts of legitimate
Why We Should Legalize Drugs
We should look at the fact that a relatively low budget public education
campaign has resulted in a significant decline in US consumption of both alcohol
and tobacco during a period when a costly and intensive campaign to curtail
illegal drugs only resulted in their increased usage. Is there a lesson to be
heeded? Of course there is. Scrap the nonsense of trying to obliterate drugs and
acknowledge their presence in our society as we have with alcohol and tobacco...
The War on Pot; wrong drug, wrong
As the nation's "drug czar," John Walters is supposed to be
saving us from the ravages of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. At
least that was the original sales pitch for the "war on drugs"
in the 1980s. But the war has evolved into largely a fight against
marijuana, which no one has ever claimed is a hard drug. Walters is
nonetheless committed, Ahab-like, to arresting every marijuana smoker in
the country whom law enforcement can lay its hands on...
The Pain Crisis in
There is a Pain Crisis in America. Its primary manifestation is the
routine and widespread under-treatment of pain, especially chronic,
non-cancer pain. Other manifestations include a severe and growing
shortage of physicians willing to prescribe morphine and related opioid
analgesics, the widespread use of more toxic and less efficacious
classes of medications in an effort to avoid opioids, and the profound
distortion of medical education and of the doctor-patient
Fear Tactics Kill Pain Patients
Untreated or inadequately treated pain is the number one cause of
suicide. A 28-year-old man who underwent lumbar disk surgery after an
accident at work was left with persistent pain in one leg. His doctor
refused to prescribe a strong painkiller, giving him an antidepressant
instead. After seeking relief from alcohol and street drugs, the man
hanged himself in his garage...
Our Right to Drugs
What we call "the drug problem" is a complex set
of interrelated phenomena that are the products of personal temptation, choice,
and responsibility, combined with a set of laws and social policies generated by
our reluctance to face this fad in a forthright manner. Nearly
everything the American government, American law, American medicine, the
American media, and the majority of the American people now think and do about
drugs is a colossal and costly mistake, injurious to innocent Americans and
foreigners, and self-destructive to the nation itself...
The Sacrificial Lamb
A Virginia doctor has become the latest victim of the government's
crusade to enforce federal drug laws that make it difficult for
sufferers of chronic pain to obtain effective medication able to ease
The DEA Spin Machine in
"Justice was served today. A criminal drug dealer who violated the
public trust and his Hippocratic oath ‘to do no harm’ will no longer
be in a position to place our citizens in harm’s way..."
Medical Marijuana - Myths vs Facts
One of marijuana’s natural ingredients – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – has been synthetically
reproduced as a prescription drug, usually marketed as Marinol®. But the benefits of marijuana
do not derive just from THC. Other active ingredients contribute to marijuana’s usefulness.
Marinol® is to marijuana what a Vitamin C pill is to fresh fruit...
Legalization of Marijuana Long Overdue
Most people are unaware of
the nature of the marijuana prohibition in America today, the extent of its
cruelty and injustice, and the threat that it poses to everyone's freedom.
Ironically, many of those who are aware of the extent of the problem view it as
being so great that they despair of being able to end it...
The Tragedy of Needless Pain
"Pain" as Albert Schweitzer once said, "is a more
terrible lord of mankind than even death itself." Prolonged pain
destroys the quality of life. It can erode the will to live, at times
driving people to suicide...
Innocent Victims in the DEA
War on Drug Diversion
For every doctor who has his license yanked by the DEA, there are a
hundred doctors scared to prescribe proper pain medication for fear of
going to prison. The DEA is creating a situation where legitimate pain
patients now have to go to the streets to get their medication...
Support the States' Rights
to Medical Marijuana Act
Despite laws in 10 states that make medical marijuana legal and the near
80% support for the issue among the American people, the federal
government continues to wage war against legitimate medical marijuana
patients and their providers. That's what makes the States' Rights to
Medical Marijuana Act necessary. Contact your representatives and let them know that you support this
Time To Decriminalize Drugs
This issue still attracts a lot of shameless sloganeering that
decriminalization 'sends the wrong message to kids'; cheap political
grandstanding that drug abuse will increase; self-righteous sermons
about the immorality of permitting drug use; embellishments that drugs
will be as available as cigarettes or liquor; race peddling by claiming
that minorities will be most adversely affected; and misstatements of
fact that drug abuse has declined...
DEA Crackdown on Doctors Hurts
Those in Chronic Pain
Millions of people depend on OxyContin and other prescription pain
killers -- drugs that are also popular on the black market. Trouble is,
the government's actions to keep OxyContin out of illegal channels are
making it more and more difficult for the tens of millions of Americans
who suffer from chronic pain to get relief...
Should We Re-Legalize Drugs?
When the American people saw what Prohibition was doing to them, they
supported its repeal. When they succeeded, most states legalized liquor
and the criminal gangs were out of the liquor business. Today's war on
drugs is a re-run of Prohibition. Approximately 40 million Americans are
occasional, peaceful users of some illegal drug who are no threat to
anyone. They are not going to stop. The laws don't, and can't, stop drug
Reefer Madness: The Federal Response to California's Medical Marijuana Law
Marijuana is unique among illegal drugs in its political symbolism, its
safety, and its wide use. California's law seems to have engendered
a uniquely harsh federal response because California is a large, trend-setting
state; because its new marijuana law is very broad as compared with others; and
because the law was passed by popular referendum...
Doctors throughout the country are being targeted by the DEA for helping
patients manage crippling pain with prescription drugs. There is no
presumption of innocence. Collateral damage to patients and physicians'
families is the norm. "Our office will try our best to root out
(certain doctors) like the Taliban" boasted US Attorney Gene
The DEA's War Against Pain-treating Drugs
The very same federal agency that has
repeatedly failed to slow the flow of illegal cocaine from abroad, is now waging
an alarmingly successful war against legal prescription drugs here at home.
Problem is, the Drug Enforcement Agency's efforts to keep legal drugs off the
black market has a nasty side-effect: Terrified of the DEA, many hometown physicians no longer give 15
million Americans struggling with chronic pain the medicines they need...
The DEA's Actions Speak Much Louder
Than Their Words
"I'm here to tell you that we trust your judgment. You know your
patients. The DEA does not intend to play the role of doctor. Only a
physician has the information and knowledge necessary to decide what is
appropriate for the management of pain in a particular situation..."
Climate of Fear
A 1999 survey of
805 chronic pain patients conducted by Roper Starch for the American
Pain Society found that roughly half of those with serious chronic pain
could not find relief -- and that the more severe the pain, the less
likely it was to be alleviated.
Only a tiny fraction of the nation’s nearly 1 million health care
professionals licensed to prescribe controlled substances are willing to
consistently use opioid medications, recognized as the best drugs for
Fighting for Your Life
Shouldn't be a Crime
You may know me as a television talk-show host, but I am also a
criminal. My crime? Using the medicine that has allowed me to live a
normal life despite having multiple sclerosis...
The conviction that pain should be endured without complaint, and
without resorting to the "crutch" of drugs, helps explain the
reluctance of both doctors and patients to use narcotics, even though
they are potent, safe, and effective weapons against pain...
The DEA's Supersnitch
Andrew Chambers made a nice career for himself as an undercover
informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Over a
16-year period, the drug agency paid him more than $2.2 million for his
Association (AMA) Policy Statement on Pain Management Using Opioid
Preventing drug abuse remains an important societal goal—it should not
hinder patient’s ability to receive the care they need and deserve or
discourage physicians from prescribing pain medications when medically
appropriate. The AMA is committed
to the goal of protecting the legitimate use of prescription drugs for
patients in pain...
Anything but Opiates!
The DEA's intimidation tactics against doctors who prescribe opiates has
another unintended effect; Doctors who treat narcotics like they were
poison, but are quick to use a drug like Neurontin for a purpose it was
not designed for...
Learning From Past
There are no panaceas for reducing drug abuse. But recognizing and
correcting our past mistakes, promptly and ungrudgingly, would surely be
a major step in the right direction...
The Case for Opiates
Most patients with chronic pain of moderate or greater
severity who have not gotten good relief with disease-specific
treatments or non-opioid analgesics should at least have a trial of an
opioid medication, no matter what the cause of the pain...
Who Should Prescribe, the DEA or
The DEA says that it wants to balance the needs of patients in
pain with the need to keep addicts from abusing medication, but that's
not what's being accomplished. The only people being kept from using
drugs in our society are those legally entitled to use them; sick
Marijuana as Medicine: A Plea for Reconsideration
Polls and voter referenda have repeatedly
indicated that the vast majority of Americans think marijuana should be
medically available. One of marijuana's greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable
safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. There is no known
case of a lethal overdose; on the basis of animal models, the ratio of lethal to
effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1...
DEA Won't Debate Drug
The Drug Enforcement Administration won't hesitate to throw doctors into
prison for humanely prescribing opiates to patients in severe chronic
pain. The DEA will seize property from everyday citizens without ever
charging them with a crime. But ask DEA agents to discuss the pros and
cons of America's drug policy in a public debate, and they run off with
their tails between their legs...
Introduction to the Drug Policy Task Force Recommendations
A growing body of evidence and opinion suggests that
contemporary drug policy, as pursued in recent decades, may be
counterproductive and even harmful to the society whose public safety it
seeks to protect. This conclusion becomes more readily apparent when one
distinguishes the harms suffered by society and its members directly
attributable to the pharmacological effects of drug use upon human
behavior, from those harms resulting from policies attempting to
eradicate drug use...
Drug Policy Task Force Recommendations
Move from policy of "zero tolerance," to one incorporating "harm reduction" principles, accepting the reality that marijuana and common recreational drugs, and other potentially harmful substances (including alcohol and tobacco), have always, and will continue to be consumed by some members of society, and concentrate efforts on reducing the harms associated with such use...
Bush Should Feel Doctors'
Since the late 1990s, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has
allied with state and local law enforcement agencies to stamp out abuse
of the painkiller OxyContin. Citing rises in emergency room episodes and
overdoses associated with the drug (both of which have been roundly
disparaged by critics), the DEA insists its "Operation
OxyContin" is a necessary reaction to the diversion of the
prescription narcotic for street use...
Drug War Propaganda: Themes in Chemical Prohibition
A powerful system of prohibitionist beliefs and fears
about the currently illicit drugs has been woven into the very fabric of
our culture. It is this system of beliefs and moral premises, more so
than our technical capabilities, which severely restrict the development
of more enlightened social policies on the excessive use of mood
The Economics of the Drug War
Illegal drug dealing is a government-protected monopoly, and this is the
real source behind America's drug problem. Those who passed the drug
laws in the United States did not have this as their intention, but it
is nonetheless what the economist calls "the unintended
consequence" of government intervention...
The Hopped-Up DEA Chief
"I think you have to put this in perspective; that whenever you look at
national social problems, whether you look at child abuse, whether you
look at teen violence, whenever you impact people’s lives, it’s a
victory.... So I look at the drug problem in this nation as one where
we’ve had enormous success." Apparently, as long as the DEA continues sending tanker-loads of people
to prison each year, the drug war is going just fine and dandy...
Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers:
The DEA's War on Prescription Painkillers
By demonizing physicians
as drug dealers and exaggerating the
health risks of pain management, the federal
government has made physicians scapegoats
for the failed drug war. In that they are generally
legitimate, well-meaning professionals who
keep accurate records, pain physicians also present
a better target than underground, black market
drug dealers for a DEA that has been
subject to increasing criticism from Congress
and the Department of Justice for its inability
to measurably reduce the domestic drug supply...
The War on Pain Sufferers
If you look carefully, you will learn that people who
suffer chronic pain are routinely undertreated because their doctors
fear that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will accuse
them of being drug pushers, destroy their practices, wipe them out
financially, and throw them in jail for good measure...
The Inalienable Right to Self-Medicate
Is there really a distinction between someone trying to escape a painful
back and someone trying to escape a painful life? Doctors tell us that
stress and anxiety can cause physical illness. So why is self-treating
psychic pain so different from self-treating physical pain? The real
distinction is between responsibility and irresponsibility, not between
back pain and stress...
Karen Tandy, Another Overzealous, Overreaching, Underhanded DEA Administrator
Though the Republican Party prides itself on being a champion of state sovereignty, one need only mention phrases like "medical marijuana" or "drug law reform" to see how quickly the Administration of George W. Bush becomes hostile to the notion of the autonomy of states. The latest--and perhaps most egregious--example of this enmity is Karen Tandy,
the current chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration...
Why Is The DEA Hounding This Doctor?
In the past year, hundreds of sufferers have contacted the
Baltimore-based American Pain
Foundation. "They've gone to every
physician within hundreds of miles and can't get someone to prescribe to
them," says executive director Will Rowe. In some cases, patients
with high-dosage prescriptions are turned away by drug stores, which are
also subject to DEA investigations...
A Letter to Those Who Support the Drug War
The tremendous costs to society in trying to prohibit drug use are
counterproductive. The misguided war on drugs criminalizes personal
behavior that does not threaten others, creates an incentive for truly
criminal acts by drug users desperate for a fix, wastes public treasure,
and, most obviously, is not achieving its desired ends...
The Longest-Running War
If drug prohibition were merely ineffective, it wouldn’t matter too
much. There is, of course, the $33 billion or so spent to enforce the
drug laws, but the cost of attempting to prevent millions of Americans
from voluntarily using drugs has been far, far higher...
Forget the War on Drugs
The drug laws are the real dangerous threats to public health and
safety. The only way to protect the public is to guarantee the right of
the sick to use marijuana and to stop jailing pot smokers who just want
to get high. We should treat drug use as a medical, moral, and
spiritual issue -- not a criminal one...
The Drug War’s Assault on Liberty
The terrible failure and destructiveness of the war on drugs, however,
is not the core of the problem. The central problem is the collectivist
mindset that has pervaded our nation for so many decades — the mindset
that says, “We have the right to control what you do to yourself.”
It is this collectivist mindset that must be fiercely attacked by
everyone who believes in liberty...
Harshing on the Prohibitionists
Drug policy reform is no longer about peoples' right to get high on
whatever intoxicants they may choose, an assertion that made it easy for
prohibitionists to put reformers on the defensive. Now that drug policy
reform has become a crusade against the black market and the gangsterism
it fosters, it is the prohibitionists who are on the defensive...
War on Drugs Takes no Prisoners
For a federal government that has been waging a decades-long war on
drugs with little measurable success, it is difficult, if not
impossible, to admit that there might be some medical benefit to
marijuana. This was demonstrated by John Ashcroft when he spent much of
his tenure as attorney general threatening to prosecute sick people in
California for using medical marijuana while the rest of the nation
lived in fear of another terrorist attack...
Supreme Court Rules Against
the Use of Medical Marijuana
The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback to the medical marijuana movement, ruling that federal narcotics laws make it a crime to grow and use the drug even when it never crosses state lines and is used only to relieve pain or nausea.
The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10
states to allow the drug's use to treat various illnesses...
Support the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana Amendment
This amendment would bar the U.S. Department of Justice -- including the Drug Enforcement Administration -- from spending any money to raid or arrest medical marijuana
patients. On June 6, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the use of medical marijuana, but it also indicated that Congress could easily change the law. As a result,
the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana Amendment is being reintroduced and will be voted on in the next few weeks. It is imperative that those who support the medical use of
marijuana contact their Representative immediately and let them know how they
expect them to vote...
Hinchey-Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana Amendment Defeated
June 15, 2005 -- The U.S. House of Representatives today voted down an amendment that would have placed a one-year moratorium on federal raids against medical marijuana patients, but patients and their supporters were cheered by an all-time record vote in support of the proposal...
Pain Contracts; Are They a Legitimate Agreement or Just Institutionalized Coercion?
Pain contracts are another result of the DEA's war
on pain patients and their doctors. Doctors use pain contracts to cover their
rear; as proof to the DEA and other law enforcement that they are properly
supervising those patients who get opiates. An additional benefit to doctors is
that they serve to dissuade patients from filing lawsuits who have been discharged
for failing to follow the rules. But are these contracts really legally binding?
See A Call to Action
to find out what you
can do to protect your right to adequate pain relief