PHARMA/POLICY: Libby on the war on Pain Doctors

Ron Libby, a political scientist at University of North Florida, is one of the few academics looking at the war on drugs. He has amassed an array of evidence showing that the incredible and pernicious behavior of the DEA has led to an epidemic of untreated pain. His piece is available here—Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers: The Drug Enforcement Administration’s War on Prescription Painkillers.

Meanwhile lunatic politicians continue to spout crap on the subject. The real number of people in Florida dying from Oxycontin overdoses may, just may, have been as high as 71.  Not the 500 that a series of totally discredited articles in the Orlando Sentinel published. But just yesterday this rubbish ran in the Fort Myers News Press.

Sgt. Lisa McElheney, who heads Broward County’s
drug diversion unit, said even when law enforcement are tipped off
about a doctor over-prescribing drugs like Oxycontin, they often don’t
have the manpower to follow all their leads. “Most of these drugs are going through legal channels,” she said. Six
people a day die in Florida from prescription drug abuse, according to
the Florida Office of Drug Control. House and Senate versions of the
bill are still in committees.

Tell me that the average reader looking at that wouldn’t think that 6 people a day or 2,000 a year are dying from Oxycontin in Florida. 2,000 a year may be dying from prescription drugs in Florida, but not from Oxycontin–more likely from drug-drug interactions and medical errors related to them (assuming that the IOM’s 100,000 patient deaths number is correct).

This is more shameful hysteria with real and bitter consequences.


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