Pubdate: Thu, 19 Feb 2004
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2004 The Washington Post Company
Author: Monroe Pastermack
Bookmark: ( Chronic Pain )


Thanks to Marc Kaufman for his Feb. 15 news story about the Drug
Enforcement Administration's desire to move drugs such as hydrocodone
from Schedule III to the highly restricted Schedule II class ["U.S. Is
Working to Make Painkillers Harder to Obtain"]. This is an important
issue for the millions who must use this drug or similar ones daily.

I take hydrocodone for pain because I have spinal arthritis. I cannot
take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen because I
take anticoagulant drugs to prevent a stroke. If this schedule change
goes through, I will have to visit a physician at my HMO for a refill.

Mr. Kaufman said health providers will not be happy with this change,
but it's more than a paperwork problem.

Providers such as Kaiser will be inundated with patients like me, thus
further increasing the waiting time to see a physician and ultimately
raising the premium of the Kaiser HMO to all patients.

Unless a patient has a serious medical problem it can take weeks or
even months to see a physician at Kaiser. My HMO will have to hire a
physician just to deal with this.

Meanwhile I and others will become increasingly disabled because we
cannot obtain the drug we need for our pain in a timely manner.

I have read that heroin is relatively inexpensive and available on the

Does the DEA want to force people to purchase heroin and other opiates
on the streets for their pain?


Oakland, Calif.
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