A DIFFERENT KIND OF OXY CONTIN DEATH
By J.S.Hochman M.D.
Executive Director NFTP
On July 24, 2002 Dr. Moore committed suicide in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His death is attributable directly to the War on OxyContin.
Dr. Moore, a well-liked and respected locum tenans physician had gone to work at a pain management clinic in South Carolina that had come under investigation by the DEA. Pain management specialists who reviewed files at the request of Dr. Moore's counsel agreed that his medical practices bore no signs of criminal intent. Under intense pressure and "counseling" by the DEA, Dr. Moore pled guilty to counts involving prescription of Oxycontin and fraudulent billing and was awaiting sentencing by a South Carolina federal court at the time of his death.
I received this notice from Mary Baluss, our National Counsel. There is little I can say to comfort the family, friends and patients of Dr. Moore. Had I known he was contemplating this, perhaps I could have helped. I would have shared with him my own experiences, which led me to help found the National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain. I would have told him to fight to the death - that the Drug Warriors could kill him, but that they should never make him give up.
It is true that the Prosecutors have endless resources and doctors have only their own means - always earned just one day at a time.
It is true that to fight charges like those Dr. Moore faced, can cost over $250,000.
It is also true that Dr. Robert Weitzel, facing his second trial, has already spent $650,000, $200,000 of which were from an anonymous benefactor.
It is true that Dr. Weitzel has been driven to the brink of bankruptcy and has nothing material left in the world (not even his medical license - that was suspended when all this began almost three years ago.)
It is true that Doctors Talley and Graves and many others are still undergoing persecution for attempting to treat intractable pain.
It is true that Dr. Joan Lewis in New Mexico spent $150,000 defending herself against the fanatical board there, and ended up settling the case by agreeing to an absurd order compelling her to obtain "more training". (when she already knew more about pain management than the entire board will if they live to be 100)
It is true that most doctors in the United States would rather just abandon and avoid pain patients than risk these kind of experiences.
It is true that these abandoned patients kill themselves, drink themselves to death, take street drugs or withdraw to their beds, hopelessly despairing.
It is true that we live an age of reckless national folly, when it comes to the treatment of pain.
It is true that agents of the government's war on drugs, promised that they will have a lifetime employment, three weeks vacation with pay, ongoing educational benefits, retirement plans and health insurance - all if only they can find evil - will continue to find evil in the brave care that some American doctors try to provide those in intractable pain.
Soon the playing field will be leveled. Soon every doctor will have the opportunity to insure themselves against this kind of one-sided bullying. Soon they will have the kind of depth of legal defense and expertise they need to beat back this vicious and conscienceable persecution.
Stay posted. The National Foundation for the Treatment of Pain is leading the counterattack.
Perhaps, Dr. Moore, we will some day present an annual award memorialzing you, for the bravest doctor in Pain care in America. We wish you had been braver, and not let them hound you to an early death.
But we salute you for what you were able to do - before the curtain fell on your hopes and dreams. God bless and God speed. May you rest in peace and may you always be remembered by those who loved you.
Dr. Benjamin Rutledge Moore
11/23/1957 – 7/23/2002
A Casualty of War.