“Politics of Pain” Campaign to Defend Patients’ Rights

Washington, D.C.,
May 16, 2008—Today, millions of Americans live in chronic pain, without
adequate access to prescription pain medications, because their doctors are too
afraid of being harassed or even arrested by the Drug Enforcement
Administration to prescribe sufficient doses. To help combat this problem, the
Competitive Enterprise Institute is launching its “Politics of Pain” campaign to support
reform of DEA rules and procedures.

“DEA is attempting to control
drug abuse by regulating the practice of medicine,” said CEI General
Counsel Sam Kazman. “But DEA consists of bureaucrats, not physicians, and its
views on treating chronic pain often amount to malpractice.”

The Politics of Pain campaign
has collected personal stories from physicians and patients who have explained
first hand how difficult it can be to either offer or find sufficient treatment
for pain conditions. In one
video interview
, Gulf War veteran James Fernandez and his wife tell their
story of how he, once a robustly healthy U.S. Marine, is now virtually confined
to his home because of severe, ongoing pain that has been under-treated for years.

“Pain patients aren’t drug abusers looking for a prescription fix,”
said CEI Senior Fellow Gregory Conko. “It’s a genuine tragedy that the DEA
often treats them and their doctors as if they were. It’s as though the
agency just doesn’t care whether its single-minded waging of the war on drugs
imposes collateral damage.”

In another video interview,
Dr. Alexander DeLuca, a board-certified specialist in addiction medicine,
describes the obstacles faced by a physician trying to deliver the “standard of
care” called for by his own medical training. According to DeLuca, virtually no
patients in the country today receive proper treatment for chronic pain.

The Politics of Pain campaign
has been developed in conjunction with the Pain Relief Network.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government. For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.