For Immediate Release
January 16, 2004
Pain Relief Network Joins National Physician and Patient Advocacy Groups
in Denouncing Florida's Hearings On Pain Drugs.
Florida's "War On Drugs" Turning Into War On Doctors and Patients
NEW YORK, NY-In response to a combined state and Federal month-long series of
hearings, purportedly aimed at curbing abuse of prescription drugs, Pain
Relief Network is calling for a moratorium on government measures attacking
legitimate pain care. Citing the virtual collapse of pain care throughout the state
of Florida, Pain Relief Network's Executive Director Siobhan Reynolds is
vowing to hold tough-talking legislators responsible for actions that hurt and kill
the most vulnerable citizens of Florida.
"In an effort to appear tough on drug abuse and diversion, Florida's elected
representatives are attacking patients in pain. Rush Limbaugh is a wealthy
man and has access to high-powered attorneys to fight for his medical privacy.
But who is standing up for the average Floridian in pain?"
Pain Relief Network joins The Association of American Physicians and
Surgeons, the American Pain Institute, and the National Pain Patients Coalition in
opposing government intrusion into medical privacy that will only further chill
legitimate pain management, putting even more patients in pain at risk for
"Patients in the worst pain, those with the highest dose requirements, those
are the people victimized by this kind of legislation. With prosecutors and
Federal agents eager to score points in their War On Drugs, Americans in severe
pain raise every kind of alarm on law enforcement's radar screen. Doctors
already turn them away in droves. Sick people have simply got to be excluded from
the list of potential drug war targets. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
only ensure that patients in pain wont get care."
-Prescription Monitoring Programs are not effective. They do not reduce
substance abuse. Illicit prescription drugs on the streets come primarily from
importation and theft. Doctors offices are not the source. Evidence: Kentucky
has the "gold standard" Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and their rate of
abuse of prescription pharmaceuticals is among the highest in the country.
-- Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs are inaccurate. They misidentify
legitimate patients who are simply struggling to survive, labeling them "doctor
shoppers." The system cannot differentiate. With 50 to 70 million Americans
unable to access appropriate care, the mistake is foreseeable, inevitable, and
-- Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs have a chilling effect on legitimate
pain management. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignoring all available
evidence. Evidence: David Joranson's studies at the University of Wisconsin Pain
and Policy Studies Center show that doctors prescribe less opioids, even when
opioid drugs are indicated, if they know the government is watching them. If
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs actually worked to curb drug abuse,
perhaps one could argue that they had some merit. But since they don't work,
there is no value to offset this unspeakable cost.
-Illicit prescription drugs are now readily available through the Internet
and through importation from Mexico and other countries, utterly undermining law
enforcement's rationale for its focus on medical practice as a source for
diverted prescription drugs. Absent evidence that medical practice is a
substantial source for illicit prescription drugs, policy makers have no justification
for destroying patient privacy and worsening what is an already appalling and
disgraceful situation facing Americans in pain.