Pubdate: Tue, 18 Mar 2003
Source: Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Copyright: 2003 Sun Publishing Co.
Note: apparent 150 word limit on LTEs
Author: Dr. Mett Ausley Jr.


The local physicians convicted of prescription fraud were despicably 
unprofessional and offer little in mitigation except incredible naivete in 
believing their actions would go unnoticed. The Sun News correctly notes 
that "ordinary" pushers receive stiff sentences ("Clinic Doctors No Better 
Than Pushers," Feb. 26), but decades-long imprisonment for such drug 
offenses merits no more respect as justice than do these doctors as healers.

Today's drug policy barely maintains linkage to reality, much less social 
hygiene or law and order. Instead, it is a gravy train driven by arrogant 
bureaucrats and opportunistic politicians who gull unsophisticated voters 
into handing them ever more authority and largesse. Addressing failure by 
redoubling it perpetuates this cycle to their advantage. Reform hasn't 
penetrated this racket since inception.

Indifferent doctors should consider that public outcry over the mass 
incarceration of poor and nonwhite drug offenders has prompted drug 
authorities to find new victims among affluent whites, in a pretense of 
balancing the scales. Accordingly, the recent crackdown on rogue physicians 
carries a hidden agenda of misleading the public that doctors' malfeasance 
exclusively underlies prescription drug abuse, shamelessly exploiting class 
resentment to this end.

Already, the Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to double 
physicians' registration fees, heralding more scrutiny and harassment of 
doctors who prescribe narcotics. Rather than meekly acquiescing, doctors 
would better serve their own and the public's interest by exposing the 
underlying corruption and joining the call for broad reforms based on 
humanitarian principles and social welfare.
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