FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Siobhan Reynolds (917) 432-4294
September 26, 2003
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2003 12:45 pm
US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ARRESTS ESTEEMED PAIN PHYSICIAN DR.WILLIAM HURWITZ
PART OF A DISTURBING NATIONAL TREND - MEDICAL EXPERTS AND NATIONAL PAIN CARE ADVOCATES SPEAKING OUT
"He isn't a drug dealer. He is a doctor. These conspiracy charges are
Washington, DC - In response to the Justice Departments surprise arrest of Dr.
William Hurwitz of McLean VA, the leaders of several prominent physician and
patient advocacy groups will speak out in defense of Dr. Hurwitz and pain
management across the country.
The sponsor of the press conference, Pain Relief Network's Executive Director
Siobhan Reynolds, joins the American Pain Institute, The Juneteenth Medical
Commission, and the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain in
condemning Hurwitz's arrest.
"What we are seeing here," says Reynolds "is the collision of superstition
with science. The Justice Department is misidentifying pain doctors all over
the country as drug dealers. What they are enforcing is a national public
health catastrophe in pain."
Citing an 800% increase in physician prosecutions over the past three years,
PRN, the API, the NFTP and the JMC are calling for a moratorium on arrests and
Congressional investigations into these ongoing cases.
"The DOJ brings sham expert testimony into these courtrooms that directly
contradicts established medical standards. By making good medicine answer to bad
before a lay jury, after the DOJ has destroyed the physician in the press, is
an absolute outrage and must be stopped at once," says the Reverend Dr.
Ronald Myers, Sr. Founding President of the American Pain Institute. "The
devastation wrought in the lives of the patients is unfathomable."
PRN has developed a clinical litigation project in response to these cases,
working with Eli D. Stutsman, an appellate attorney of Oregon vs. Ashcroft
fame, to develop an approach to these cases that may be useful to defending
physicians throughout the country.
"It turns out the DOJ is confusing criminal and
civil standards in order to get these convictions," says Ms. Reynolds. "No wonder
the juries have misunderstood."
Much of what we believe in the culture about opioid analgesics has been
scientifically demonstrated to be wrong, but most of us don't know it yet. Doctors
who treat pain aggressively have learned that opioid analgesics, when used in
the treatment of chronic pain are safe, effective and rarely addictive.
What is often missed, as all this hysteria about "bad drug-dealing doctors"
unfolds, is that the under treatment of chronic pain is the nation's largest
health problem and that currently there is no balance between the need of
suffering patients to be treated and the duty of law enforcement to protect the
public from the abuse which occurs when opioids are available. Disability caused
by chronic pain causes more lost days from work than heart disease, and
Still, the DOJ is stubbornly holding on to its antiquated notion that to be
dependent on opioid medications for pain relief is to be an addict.
could be further from the truth." says PRN's Reynolds, "But tell that to
Ashcroft. He has the power to enforce these antiquated rules and to preserve the
power of the myths. Congress owes it to the American public to stop him."
Family Member of a Chronic Pain Patient
Founding Executive Director PRN
Pain Relief Network
"Standing up for patients in pain and the doctors who treat them"
American Pain Institute (662) 378-9006
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (800) 635-1196
Juneteenth Medical Commission (202) 331-8864
National Foundation for The Treatment of Pain (202) 244-0710
Pain Relief Network (212) 873-5848