The US government has long fought against the right of people living in pain to access an adequate supply of pain medications. It targets doctors who prescribe these pills. And, now, it focuses its aim on those who would dare to question this pogrom.
When the government accuses a doctor of running a “pill mill,” prosecutors portray every aspect of his practice in a sinister light. Prescribing painkillers becomes drug trafficking, applying for insurance reimbursement becomes fraud, making bank deposits becomes money laundering, and working with people at the office becomes conspiracy.
When Siobhan Reynolds thinks a doctor has been unfairly targeted for such a prosecution, she tries to counter the official narrative by highlighting the patients he has helped and dramatizing the conflict between drug control and pain control. But now the government has turned its reinterpretive powers on Reynolds, portraying the pain treatment activist’s advocacy as obstruction of justice and thereby threatening the freedom of anyone who dares to suggest there is more than one side to a criminal case.
This is another negative consequence of drug prohibition.
The DEA, the primary federal institution tasked with control of drugs, has an institutional focus on the mission of enforcing the prohibition on illegal drugs. This focus seeps into other areas, influencing the way control over legal drugs is conducted. Again, enforcement and interdiction (because what can you call the government’s attempts to stop doctors from prescribing drugs to patients) are the focus.
This is the wrong focus. For currently illegal drugs, the focus should be on reducing harms and for some, maximizing benefits. For currently legal drugs, particularly those used to treat pain, the focus should be on best helping patients. That should be obvious but, unfortunately, it is not.
The entire article is worth reading.