Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Pain Enforcement Administration

America's Puritan heritage is described by H.L. Mencken as a person who is constantly worried that somewhere, sometime, someone might be having a good time. This is the fundamental nature of our government morality bureau: the Drug Enforcement Administration. As a morality bureau it does not enforce the taking of drugs, but merely the kind of drugs that can be taken, by whom, when, and in what amounts.

If you have been following my previous columns you know that people take drugs to relieve pain. They take the kind of drug and amount that allows them to function given their level of pain. This is true of legal and illegal drugs. We know that opiate patients in hospitals have very little problem giving up opiates when their pain is gone. We know that given the chance to self regulate opiate delivery that people take no more than is necessary to relieve their pain. This is as true of illegal drugs as it is of legal drugs. Drugs do not cause drug taking. Pain causes drug taking.

There are no addicts. Only people in pain. What we call addiction is self medication for undiagnosed pain such as PTSD or other severe emotional or physical trauma. Cure the pain and the desire for the drugs vanishes. This is true not only of drug addicts but also alcohol addicts and food addicts as well. In fact it is my belief that it is true of all so called addictions. This is made quite clear by the title of the popular book on food addictions called "It's Not What You Eat, But What's Eating You" by Jack Schwartz.

What does all this have to do with the DEA? It is quite simple. The purpose of the DEA is the enforcement of pain. Or as they would prefer the prevention of the use of drugs to help people feel better. They make this quite clear in the recent series of prosecutions of doctors who treat patients with intractable pain. A case in point is Dr. Marlou Davis a pain management specialist in Missouri who was recently arrested for prescribing "excessive" doses of opiods to his patients despite the fact that the original case was dropped in October of 2000. Another case is that of Doctor William E. Hurwitz of Northern Virginia who had his clinic shut down by the DEA for prescribing "excessive" amounts of OxyContin. Dr. Hurwitz writes "While spokesmen for the DEA give lip service to the idea of a balanced enforcement policy that preserves the access of deserving patients to needed medications, these aggressive and ill informed prosecutions convey a message of intimidation to doctors and of indifference to the plight of patients in pain." You can read the rest of the Doctor's message to his patients. The Doctor also has given a talk on "The Police State of Medicine".

America is a Judeo-Christian nation culturally, dedicated to the relief of suffering. We have direct proof of this in recent surveys about the acceptance of medical marijuana. Eighty percent of the American people believe that is OK to use marijuana for the relief of suffering in medical situations, despite the efforts of Federal and State law enforcement bodies to discourage this point of view.

I think it is time to prevail on our law makers to put an end to the Pain Enforcement Administration other wise known as the DEA. It is time to stop making criminals out of people in pain and the doctors who treat them.

Write your Senators and Congress persons and let them know how you feel. The pain you relieve may one day be your own. Try one of these Web Sites for contact information:

U.S. House of Representatives Write Your Representative Service

Contact Senators

Contacting Congress (& Other US Policymakers)

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a person who has had PTSD, neurogenic pain from musculo-skeletal conditions, and pain simply from living in an abusive social world I have used both marijuana and alcohol in order to manage that pain. These drugs also helped to highlight my problem with pain over ten years and I the went on a five year healing process with bodywork (Reichian) therapies. I am now all stretched out, relaxed and less usceptible to the stress that caused my pain. I still use marijuana but only feel the need to do so with others as a social facilitator - social healing? - Your thesis on drug use and pain seems to me to be so accurate. BTW, have you ever read Derrick Jensen (A Language Older Than Words)? which concerns the abusive and traumatic structure of civilisation. It is no wonder that when primitive/hunter-gatherer people encounter civilisation and empire so many of them descend into alcoholism to kill the pain.

But if people are not in pain how will we maintain a hierarchical social order? If people do not cower at authority how will civilisation work?

I hope you can get your work published.