Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experts call for balance in addressing under treated pain and drug abuse

20.03.2006


Healthcare decisions must remain in the hands of healthcare professionals for the sake of patients



A balance must be struck between physicians’ responsibility to treat chronic pain and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) duty to combat drug abuse, according to a series of seven commentaries by national thoughtleaders published today in the February issue of Pain Medicine.

The commentaries explore the current state of the use of pain medicine from a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on the tension between physicians treating legitimate pain and the DEA. Pain Medicine is the journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM).


According to the American Pain Foundation, chronic pain affects more than 50 million Americans. People suffering from chronic pain may need pain medicine to lead normal lives, such as being able to work and to participate in family life. Many patients with chronic pain have lost access to appropriate medical care due to tension between regulatory/legislative bodies and the medical community.

The lead commentary describing current DEA policy on pain care with controlled substances was written by Howard A. Heit, MD, a pain and addiction medicine specialist who has collaborated with the DEA. AAPM President Scott M. Fishman, MD, presents the collision of the war on drugs with efforts to improve pain care. Jennifer Bolen, JD, Former Assistant US Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, makes a compelling case that current DEA policies are founded on erroneous and inappropriate positions. Edward Covington, MD, Steven Passik, PhD, and Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD, add additional dimensions to the current perceived state of imbalance, while Will Rowe, Executive Director of the American Pain Foundation, a patient advocacy organization, provides perspective on patient’s rights.

Victories and Defeats in Pain Care

Dr. Heit and others worked with the DEA to develop the August 2004 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Health Care Professionals and Law Enforcement Personnel, which the DEA subsequently disavowed causing "confusion and consternation" among physicians who treat pain.

"It is now apparent to me that the spirit of cooperation that existed between the DEA and the pain community to achieve the goal of balance has broken down. The DEA seems to have ignored the input and needs of the healthcare professionals and pain patients who actually prescribe, dispense and use controlled substances," Dr. Heit states in his commentary.

"It is essential that we resume dialogue between the DEA and healthcare professions for the benefit of our patients and society," continues Dr. Heit. "The DEA and the healthcare professionals treating pain both have an important job to do in ensuring those who need [controlled substances] for pain receive them while preventing misuse and diversion. Only through dialogue based on and mutual trust and respect can this balance be restored."

Other government initiatives have challenged the line between health policy and law enforcement. This includes Congress’s empowerment of the DEA allowing the agency authority in reviewing new drugs, a role previously held only by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Dr. Fishman. On Nov. 4, 2005, Congress reversed itself and rescinded the DEA’s new authority.

As healthcare’s regulatory authority shifts from health agencies to law enforcement agencies, the DEA and Federal prosecutors have used the courts to bypass state medical boards when scrutinizing physician practices. Dr. Fishman says that the recently passed national law, National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), which institutes a national prescription monitoring program, may offer some steps forward, but it also carries the potential to impede optimal prescribing and could even perpetuate aberrant prescribing that may facilitate abuse. While this new law is presented to the public as a clinical tool to improve patient care and safety, "…profound inadequacies suggest that this law may be intended less as a clinical tool than as a physician mouse trap," Dr. Fishman states.

"Healthcare decisions, including those involving legitimate use of analgesics, must remain in the hands of healthcare professionals," comments Dr. Fishman. "The DEA should be required to work with health agencies and healthcare professionals in finding common ground and reaching the rational position of balance that is in the public’s best interest…Healthcare oversight must remain within agencies whose primary responsibility is to improve public health. Contrary to recent events in Washington, we must continue to insist that drug abuse can be curbed without undermining patients in pain and striving for such policies is in the best interest of society. The least we can do is to make sure that the casualties of the war on drugs are not suffering patients who legitimately deserve relief."

Freedom to Care for Pain Patients Critical

Reluctance to prescribe powerful pain medicine among the medical community for fear of retribution has led to the needless suffering of countless people in pain.

The Department of Justice must "stop the abuse and diversion of prescription medicines without harming access to these medicines for people affected by pain," states Will Rowe, Executive Director, American Pain Foundation, in his commentary. The commentary points to a failure on the part of the DEA in not abiding by its commitment to the pain community to pursue a balance between the war on drugs and the rights of pain patients, and also cites "the failure of those in authority over the DEA to assert the more comprehensive command."

Amy Jenkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.painmed.org/
http://www.painfoundation.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>