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Experts call for balance in addressing under treated pain and drug abuse

A balance must be struck between physicians' responsibility to treat chronic pain and the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) duty to combat drug abuse, according to a series of seven commentaries by national thoughtleaders published today in the February issue of Pain Medicine.

The commentaries explore the current state of the use of pain medicine from a variety of perspectives, with an emphasis on the tension between physicians treating legitimate pain and the DEA. Pain Medicine is the journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM).

According to the American Pain Foundation, chronic pain affects more than 50 million Americans. People suffering from chronic pain may need pain medicine to lead normal lives, such as being able to work and to participate in family life. Many patients with chronic pain have lost access to appropriate medical care due to tension between regulatory/legislative bodies and the medical community.

The lead commentary describing current DEA policy on pain care with controlled substances was written by Howard A. Heit, MD, a pain and addiction medicine specialist who has collaborated with the DEA. AAPM President Scott M. Fishman, MD, presents the collision of the war on drugs with efforts to improve pain care. Jennifer Bolen, JD, Former Assistant US Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, makes a compelling case that current DEA policies are founded on erroneous and inappropriate positions. Edward Covington, MD, Steven Passik, PhD, and Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD, add additional dimensions to the current perceived state of imbalance, while Will Rowe, Executive Director of the American Pain Foundation, a patient advocacy organization, provides perspective on patient's rights.

Victories and Defeats in Pain Care
Dr. Heit and others worked with the DEA to develop the August 2004 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Health Care Professionals and Law Enforcement Personnel, wh
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Contact: Amy Jenkins
amy@jenkinspublicrelations.com
312-836-0613
American Academy of Pain Medicine
17-Mar-2006


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