HAZARDS OF CRIMINALIZATION OF MEDICINE: 398 PATIENTS AFTER DISRUPTION OF STABLE OPIATE TREATMENT
*Alen J. Salerian MD
A plethora of paper trail evidence let us study the medical care of 398 patients with chronic pain following a DEA raid that disrupted treatment in Washington DC on March 3, 2011. This retrospective review suggests that the sudden administrative suspension of operations of a pain center contributed to deaths of 8 patients among 398 stable patients.
This retrospective review suggests an increased risk of premature death with opiate discontinuation long after withdrawal stage. The deaths of 8 patients were consistent with previously reported – opiate associated neuro protective mechanism – against premature death for some vulnerable subgroups. Of profound ethical and forensic significance, evidence suggests multiple major violations of judicial processes let the emergency closure of a pain center possibly contributing to serious adverse consequences for patients. For instance, 4 fraudulent complaints by DEA assisted health professionals and a perjured testimony were recorded in the administrative hearings (DC Department of Health and DC Board of medicine) prior to the closure of the pain center. Prevention of prosecutorial abuses and adoption of a science- based classification of controlled substances may represent the initial steps for appropriate care of people with chronic pain.
Keywords: Chronic Pain, Opiates, Criminalization of Medicine, Suicide, Pain Doctors.
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