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1 US DC: OPED: Chilling ConvictionMon, 27 Dec 2004
Source:Washington Times (DC) Author:Sullum, Jacob Area:District of Columbia Lines:93 Added:12/27/2004

I have to admit I'm impressed by the achievement of the federal prosecutors who call McLean, Va., pain doctor William Hurwitz "a major and deadly drug dealer." Though the evidence at his trial made it clear Dr. Hurwitz was not a drug trafficker, they still managed to get him convicted.

The prosecutors did not dispute Dr. Hurwitz had helped hundreds of patients recover their lives by prescribing the high doses of opioids they needed to control their chronic pain. Instead they pointed to the small minority of his patients - 5 to 10 percent, by his attorneys' estimate - who misused the drugs, sold them illicitly, or both.

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2 US VA: County Detective Shares Insight On Federal CaseTue, 21 Dec 2004
Source:Fauquier Times-Democrat (VA) Author:Bogdanovic, Alexandra Area:Virginia Lines:78 Added:12/25/2004

When federal prosecutors wrapped up their case against a McLean-based pain doctor accused of prescription drug trafficking recently, Det. Fulton Lucas was on hand for the closing arguments.

"I've been a police officer since 1981," the Fauquier County investigator said this week. "Very seldom are you able to reach someone at the top of the chain for distribution of drugs. This was an important case."

Dr. William E. Hurwitz was arrested and indicted on 49 counts of drug trafficking in 39 states on Sept. 25, 2003. Thirteen additional counts were later added to the indictment.

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3 US: AMA To Voice Concerns To DEA Over Pain Medication Prescribing PolicyMon, 27 Dec 2004
Source:American Medical News (US)          Area:United States Lines:28 Added:12/25/2004

The American Medical Association will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration to address physician concerns that an interim policy statement published by the agency in November could interfere with the way doctors prescribe opioid analgesic medications to some patients. Doctors worry that the statement could make it illegal to write multiple pain medication prescriptions for a patient on the day of a visit and evaluation. Physicians also worry that they no longer could legally write directions for dispensing additional medication on future, specified dates. At the AMA's Interim Meeting in Atlanta this month, delegates called on the Association to support interpreting federal law in a way that would let doctors continue to write pain medication prescriptions for patients in need, while letting the government provide oversight and regulation to minimize risks to patients' health and safety.

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4 US VA: Pain Doctor 'Cavalier,' Jury Foreman SaysTue, 21 Dec 2004
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Markon, Jerry Area:Virginia Lines:95 Added:12/21/2004

Convicted Physician Prescribed 'Astounding' Amounts of Drugs, Man Says

The foreman of the jury that convicted prominent pain doctor William E. Hurwitz on drug charges described him yesterday as a "sloppy" physician who prescribed enormous amounts of dangerous narcotics that went "beyond the bounds of reason."

"The dosages were just astounding," foreman Ralph Craft said of testimony that Hurwitz prescribed 1,600 pills a day to one patient and that his dosages caused the deaths of several patients and seriously injured others.

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5 US VA: Pain Doctor's Trial: ConvictedThu, 16 Dec 2004
Source:McLean Connection (VA) Author:Moore, Ken Area:Virginia Lines:173 Added:12/19/2004

Jury Finds McLean Pain Doctor Guilty On 50 Counts.

After hearing 21 days of testimony, 76 witnesses and exhibits from 31 notebooks containing thousands of pages of documents, an Alexandria jury of seven men and five women convicted Dr. William E. Hurwitz, 59, of 50 of the 62 counts charged against him. The jury deliberated more than 30 hours to determine whether prescriptions Hurwitz wrote for chronic pain patients, some who turned out to be criminal drug dealers, some addicted to opioids including OxyContin, warranted locking the McLean 'pain doctor' in federal prison. Most counts carry a possible 20-year sentence, meaning Hurwitz faces the rest of his life in prison.

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6 US VA: N.Va Pain Doctor GuiltyThu, 16 Dec 2004
Source:Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Author:Bradley, Paul Area:Virginia Lines:99 Added:12/16/2004

Jury Convicts Him On 50 Counts, Acquits On 9, Still Considering 3

ALEXANDRIA - A prominent Northern Virginia doctor accused of fueling a black market in potent prescription drugs was convicted yesterday of the some of the most serious charges against him and now faces a probable life prison term.

Dr. William E. Hurwitz, whose defunct McLean clinic specialized in treating patients with chronic pain, was found guilty of 50 counts contained in a 62-count federal indictment. He was acquitted of nine counts. The five-woman, seven-man jury will continue deliberations this morning on the three remaining counts.

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7 US VA: Pain Doctor Convicted Of Drug ChargesThu, 16 Dec 2004
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Markon, Jerry Area:Virginia Lines:111 Added:12/16/2004

Va. Man Faces Possible Life Term on Trafficking Counts

A federal jury convicted a prominent former pain doctor on drug trafficking charges yesterday, siding with prosecutors in an increasingly contentious nationwide dispute over whether prescribing large doses of powerful narcotics is criminal behavior or good medicine.

Jurors found William E. Hurwitz guilty of running a drug conspiracy out of his McLean office, convicting him on 50 counts -- including trafficking that caused the death of one patient and seriously injured two others. They acquitted him of nine other counts and deadlocked on the final three in the 62-count indictment.

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8 US VA: Hurwitz Takes the StandThu, 09 Dec 2004
Source:McLean Connection (VA) Author:Moore, Ken Area:Virginia Lines:219 Added:12/10/2004

Jury Begins Deliberations on the 62-Count Indictment Against Mclean 'Pain Doctor.'

Some past patients say Dr. William E. Hurwitz saved their lives.

Before he found Hurwitz on the Internet, Sylvester Boyd testified Friday, Dec. 3 that he suffered 12 years with "constant, nagging, unrelenting pain - just pain, pain, pain - it nearly destroyed my life." "I was at the end of my rope. It gets to a point where shockingly suicide is not an option you're willing to dismiss," testified Boyd, 50, who suffered bone fractures, muscle and cartilage tears in his back during a fall at an ice skating party he held for his daughter about 15 years ago. Boyd was not the only grateful patient. "Dr. Hurwitz saved my wife's life, said Charles Barnhart, of New Mexico, following his wife Molly Shaw's testimony last Thursday. "I hope she got to the jury; I know every time she talks about it, it gets to me."

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9US CA: Treating Pain No Longer A GambleSun, 05 Dec 2004
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Griffith, Dorsey Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/06/2004

Doctors Are Freer To Prescribe Narcotics, But Fears Linger

Twenty-four years ago, the Medical Board of California accused Dr. Harvey Rose of overprescribing pain medicine, a disciplinary ordeal that lasted four years and cost him $140,000 in legal fees.

Fast-forward to 2004 and you sometimes find the 72-year-old Carmichael doctor teamed up with the medical board's enforcement chief, trying to convince doctors that treating pain - even with high doses of narcotics - can be safe for both patients and physicians.

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10 US SC: Former Pain Clinic Doctor Charged in Drug ConspiracyWed, 10 Nov 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Gailliard, Kenneth A. Area:South Carolina Lines:55 Added:11/13/2004

Federal authorities have identified and charged another doctor with illegally distributing narcotics at the former Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center of Myrtle Beach.

An arraignment is set for today in Florence for Gregory W. Walter of Albany, Ga., who was indicted on charges of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and money laundering.

Seven doctors from the clinic, including its owner, Dr. Michael Woodward, already have been convicted and sentenced in federal court on charges related to money laundering and drug distribution.

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11 US VA: US Calls Doctor Dealer, Not HealerFri, 05 Nov 2004
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Smith, Leef Area:Virginia Lines:134 Added:11/05/2004

Trial On Drug Charges Begins In Va.

Federal prosecutors yesterday portrayed prominent pain doctor William E. Hurwitz as a man who used his white coat and prescription pad to traffic in narcotics, spreading the abuse of addictive painkillers nationwide and ultimately leading to the deaths of several patients.

During the opening day of his trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, prosecutors outlined a 62-count indictment against the McLean doctor that includes charges of drug trafficking resulting in death and serious bodily injury, conspiracy to traffic in controlled substances and health care fraud.

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12 US VA: Doctor on Trial Backs Method of PrescriptionFri, 05 Nov 2004
Source:Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Author:Barakat, Matthew Area:Virginia Lines:74 Added:11/05/2004

Prosecutor Calls Him 'A Mere Drug Dealer' To OxyContin Addicts

ALEXANDRIA - A prominent doctor on trial for drug trafficking was following an emerging medical trend by prescribing massive amounts of painkillers to desperate patients, his lawyer told jurors yesterday.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, said pain-management doctor William Hurwitz knowingly prescribed OxyContin and other addictive drugs to dealers and in such massive doses - up to 600 OxyContin pills a day for one patient - that two patients seeking legitimate treatment died of overdoses.

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13 US: DEA Withdraws Its Support Of Guidelines On PainkillersThu, 21 Oct 2004
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Kaufman, Marc Area:United States Lines:132 Added:10/21/2004

The Drug Enforcement Administration has reversed its support for a set of negotiated guidelines designed to end a controversy over the arrests of hundreds of pain specialists who prescribed powerful narcotics for their patients. The agency took the document off its Web site earlier this month, less than two months after announcing it with great fanfare.

In rescinding its endorsement, the DEA wrote on its Web site that the 31-page document "contained misstatements" and "was not approved as an official statement of the agency." The agency declined to give any more specifics, saying that it hoped to issue a statement "in one or two weeks."

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14 US NY: OPED: Doctors Behind BarsTue, 19 Oct 2004
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Satel, Sally Area:New York Lines:214 Added:10/19/2004

In February 1999, Dr. Frank Fisher, a general practitioner in Shasta County, Calif., was arrested by agents from the California state attorney general's office and charged with drug trafficking and murder.

The arrest was based on records indicating that Dr. Fisher had been prescribing high doses of narcotic pain relievers to his patients, five of whom died. He lost his home and his medical practice and served five months in jail before it was discovered that the patients had died from accidents or from medical illnesses, not from the narcotics he prescribed.

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15 US VA: More Cases Fall Under Drug LawSun, 19 Sep 2004
Source:Roanoke Times (VA) Author:McCaffery, Jen Area:Virginia Lines:146 Added:09/21/2004

In drug distribution cases resulting in death or serious bodily injury, Western District prosecutors are frequently using a law with stricter sentences.

After Radford University student William Warren Devers Jr. supplied the OxyContin that in part caused the fatal overdose of a longtime friend, a federal judge sentenced him to probation.

But after Vincent Jennell Jr. of Salem pleaded guilty to supplying heroin that led to two overdose deaths, another federal judge sentenced him to 20 years.

Prosecutors in the Western District of Virginia have been making increasing use of a federal law that says if defendants are convicted of distribution of drugs that leads to death or serious bodily injury, they face a mandatory prison sentence of 20 years to life. The law was passed in 1986, in the wake of the cocaine overdose death of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias.

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16 US: Web: Dr FeelscaredThu, 19 Aug 2004
Source:Reason Online (US Web) Author:Szalavitz, Maia Area:United States Lines:573 Added:08/19/2004

Drug Warriors Put The Fear Of Prosecution In Physicians Who Dare To Treat Pain

On February 1, 2002, Cecil Knox was seeing patients in his Roanoke, Virginia, clinic when more than a dozen federal agents burst through the doors with guns drawn.

Helmeted, shielded, and wearing bullet-proof vests, they terrified waiting patients and employees.

One worker later told the Pain Relief Network, a patient advocacy group, she thought she and her husband, who was helping her in the office that day, would be shot. She looked on in horror as an agent put a gun to his head and ordered, "Get off the phone!

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17 US CA: Editorial: Law's Intruding On Medicine Does Little ForWed, 11 Aug 2004
Source:Redding Record Searchlight (CA)          Area:California Lines:65 Added:08/12/2004

In early 1999, state officials spun a tale involving a drug-abusing physician whose greed and contempt for the law led him to run a pill mill that created thousands of addicts and left a trail of dead bodies. They charged him with multiple counts of murder and set his bail at $15 million.

Five years later, a jury acquitted the doctor of even misdemeanor fraud charges. As for the deaths, the original murder charges were reduced to involuntary manslaughter, delayed for years, then dismissed in 2003. State prosecutors say medicine has evolved and the practices that made Dr. Frank Fisher a menace to society then would not be worth bringing before a jury today.

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18US FL: DEA Clarifies Protocol For PainkillersThu, 12 Aug 2004
Source:Tampa Tribune (FL) Author:Kaufman, Marc Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:08/12/2004

WASHINGTON - The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and top pain specialists on Wednesday jointly issued detailed new guidelines designed to reassure worried doctors that they will not be prosecuted for prescribing high doses of powerful morphine-based painkillers for patients who need them for intractable pain.

The guidelines also make more clear, however, that doctors have responsibilities to ensure that their pain patients are not abusing prescription opioids such as OxyContin and are not doctor-shopping to collect narcotics for illicit sales.

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19 US CA: Series: State Official Says Prosecution Was the RightSun, 08 Aug 2004
Source:Redding Record Searchlight (CA) Author:Hazle, Maline Area:California Lines:154 Added:08/11/2004

Frank Fisher says he knew his prescription practices had attracted law enforcement's attention the day a purported Medi-Cal patient came to his Westwood Walk-in Clinic and asked for a Vicodin prescription.

"I said, 'What's wrong with you?' and he said, 'Nothing,'" Fisher recalled. "I threw the door to my office open and said, 'You need to leave.'"

That was in the summer of 1996. Fisher billed Medi-Cal for the visit, a bill that later became part of the original fraud charges filed against him in 1997.

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20 US CA: Series: Drug Agents Point Fingers at PhysiciansMon, 09 Aug 2004
Source:Redding Record Searchlight (CA) Author:Hazle, Maline Area:California Lines:166 Added:08/11/2004

In Florida, Dr. James Graves is serving 63 years for manslaughter in the deaths of four patients.

In Virginia last year, a doctor was hit with a 313-count indictment after federal prosecutors accused him of having illegally distributed a fortune in OxyContin. A Tucson, Ariz., doctor stands accused of "drug dealing with a pen."

And in Virginia, again, a pain treatment specialist faces 49 felony counts, including drug trafficking resulting in death or serious injury, conspiracy and running a criminal enterprise.

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21 US CA: Series: Relief Eludes Doctor's Former PatientsMon, 09 Aug 2004
Source:Redding Record Searchlight (CA) Author:Hazle, Maline Area:California Lines:202 Added:08/10/2004

Just as Frank Fisher's story isn't over, the nightmare that began with the doctor's arrest hasn't ended for his former pain patients.

Toni Briano, 40, of Red Bluff still hasn't found a permanent doctor and she's still in pain. Darlene Oakes, who now lives in Sonora, considered suicide at one point. Debbie and Larry Van Meter of Redding spent money the family said it couldn't spare on trips to Oregon, where he finally found treatment.

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22 US CA: Series: 'Criminals' CrestfallenSun, 08 Aug 2004
Source:Redding Record Searchlight (CA) Author:Hazle, Maline Area:California Lines:244 Added:08/10/2004

Doctor And Pharmacy Owners Overcome Charges, Lose Footing

There's an old police saying -- "You might beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride."

And the ride is far from over for a doctor and pharmacy owners busted by drug agents almost six years ago in highly publicized dual raids of his Anderson clinic and their Redding drug store.

Attorney General Bill Lockyer called a press conference to hail the murder, drug trafficking and Medi-Cal fraud arrests of Dr. Frank Bensell Fisher, pharmacist Stephen Miller and his wife, Madeline.

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23 US SC: 3 Doctors Fight Jail Time Amid AppealsThu, 15 Jul 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Gailliard, Kenneth A. Area:South Carolina Lines:92 Added:07/16/2004

3 DOCTORS FIGHT JAIL TIME AMID APPEALS

FLORENCE - Three former doctors from the defunct Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center in Myrtle Beach should remain free on bond because they may have been convicted and sentenced improperly, their lawyers said Wednesday.

"That's not a technicality," said attorney Eli D. Stutsman, who has appealed the convictions based on the legal standard used. "That is huge."

The doctors' lawyers also plan to appeal their sentences based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding information juries should consider before sentencing, Stutsman said. Lawyers want the doctors free while the appeals are pending.

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24 US: California Bill Calls For Physician Review Of PrescribingMon, 19 Jul 2004
Source:American Medical News (US) Author:Robeznieks, Andis Area:United States Lines:96 Added:07/12/2004

Prosecutors oppose legislation to allow doctors to examine evidence against doctors before an arrest is made.

Stories of doctors being the subject of showcase arrests because of their prescribing volumes have made the medical community uncomfortable, but when two of these arrests occurred in the far northern California district of state Sen. Sam Aanestad, DDS, he decided to do something about it.

Dr. Aanestad introduced the Medical Crimes: Investigations and Prosecutions bill endorsed by the California Medical Assn. The bill calls for a physician review of a doctor's prescribing patterns before an arrest is made and also for the timely return of any medical records seized during an investigation. =A0

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25 US VA: Grand Jury Hands Down Charges Against Dr KnoxFri, 18 Jun 2004
Source:Roanoke Times (VA) Author:McCaffery, Jen Area:Virginia Lines:65 Added:06/18/2004

The New Allegations Are Slightly Different From Those In The Previous Indictment.

Roanoke pain specialist Cecil Byron Knox faces additional allegations of actions federal prosecutors say were part of an organized criminal enterprise, according to a new indictment a grand jury in Charlottesville handed down Wednesday.

The new allegations are slightly different from those in the previous indictment against Knox.

In the previous indictment, the allegation that Knox prescribed the stimulant Fastin to a patient in February, March and April 1998 with the intention of sharing it with her was named as one of seven acts to support the charge that Knox had committed racketeering.

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26 US FL: Mandatory MadnessWed, 16 Jun 2004
Source:Weekly Planet (FL) Author:Snider, Eric Area:Florida Lines:495 Added:06/17/2004

What Happened To A Man Whose Only Crime, it Seems, Was Trying To Ease His Chronic Pain

"You know when you have a toothache and the pain is so severe that you absolutely have to be seen immediately by a dentist?" says the man in the wheelchair. "Imagine if you had to grin and bear it for an undetermined period of time. You can't see straight. You think you'll pass out, and sometimes you do. And sometimes you pray you will."

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27 Australia: Hazy Logic Dictates A Painful ProhibitionWed, 16 Jun 2004
Source:Australian, The (Australia)          Area:Australia Lines:118 Added:06/16/2004

BETWEEN moments of pungent humour, The Barbarian Invasions is a confronting movie. Facing a painful death to cancer, Remy, a self-described "socialist, hedonist lecher", accepts Montreal's crumbling, cramped public health system as his left-wing fate. Until his estranged son, a rich investment banker - a "capitalist, ambitious prude", says Remy - jets in from London to make his father's last days more comfortable.

Sebastien learns from a doctor friend that heroin will be "800 per cent more powerful" than morphine - the standard fare dispensed by doctors to cancer patients. And so he seeks out the dealers and users necessary to secure heroin for Remy.

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28 US PA: Editorial: Pain: It Hurts Us EverywhereSun, 23 May 2004
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Timpane, John Area:Pennsylvania Lines:208 Added:05/26/2004

Thousands With Chronic Pain Receive Inadequate Treatment, Despite New Drugs And Technology. We Need To Take Another Look At How We Think About It.

Pain sure has a big future.

The question is: Can we give it less of one?

In the United States, which has (so we're told) "the world's greatest health-care system," we're not all that good at managing pain.

This, one of the quietest scandals in the Western world, cannot moan its name.

Thousands with chronic, intractable pain receive inadequate treatment. That includes 40 percent of those with moderate to severe pain, 40 percent of all cancer patients, and 75 percent of surgical patients. That includes the 26 million people between 20 and 64 with chronic back pain, and the one in six of us who suffers from arthritis. Add burn victims, trauma patients, all those for whom healing hurts.

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29US CA: Murder Case Dissolved, But So Did Doctor's LifeSun, 23 May 2004
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Stanton, Sam Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/25/2004

EL CERRITO - With his mild manner and coifed white hair, Frank Fisher doesn't seem like a guy who killed as many as nine people, as the state once claimed.

As it turns out, the doctor wasn't really part of what investigators once pronounced "a highly sophisticated drug-dealing operation."

He's just a 50-year-old doctor, Harvard-trained, who has lost his practice and his assets, a man who's resorted to living in his parents' cramped home as the result of a five-year battle to prove he is not a killer, not a drug dealer, not guilty of Medi-Cal fraud.

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30 US VA: Doctors Cautious With Pain PrescriptionsSun, 23 May 2004
Source:Roanoke Times (VA) Author:McCaffery, Jen Area:Virginia Lines:187 Added:05/24/2004

Managing pain puts doctors in the position of divining which patients are telling the truth and which are lying about their pain.

There's a joke in the Roanoke Valley medical community these days that goes, "write a prescription, go to jail."

Doctors feel like they're under a microscope for prescribing painkillers such as OxyContin and methadone, said Roanoke interventional pain specialist Dr. Cyrus Bakhit, who runs the Pain Management Center with Dr. Marc Swanson at 2110 Carolina Ave. S.W.

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31US CA: Jury Acquits Doctor in Pain-Control Test CaseThu, 20 May 2004
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Hall, Carl T. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/21/2004

A Shasta County physician who once faced multiple counts of murder and other felonies as part of an alleged drug-dealing conspiracy was found not guilty late Tuesday of the remaining charges against him, ending a high-profile case seen as a test of the ability of doctors to treat patients with chronic pain.

Dr. Frank B. Fisher, 50, was acquitted of charges that he had defrauded the state Medi-Cal system -- the only criminal charges that hadn't already been dropped -- by a Shasta County Superior Court jury after a two-week trial in Redding.

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32US CA: Jury Finds Doctor Not GuiltyThu, 20 May 2004
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Vartabedian, Ralph Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/20/2004

The Operator Of A Shasta County Clinic Was Accused Of Improperly Prescribing Painkillers And Of Medi-Cal Fraud In A Long-Running Case.

Ending a long-standing case that had gained national attention, a Redding jury late Wednesday found Dr. Frank Fisher not guilty of improperly prescribing painkillers and submitting fraudulent medical claims. The case against Fisher, a Harvard University medical graduate who ran a clinic for the rural poor in Shasta County, was among some federal and state cases that had been described by government critics and medical groups as a war against doctors who prescribe pain medications.

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33 US VA: Date Set for 2nd Knox TrialThu, 15 Apr 2004
Source:Roanoke Times (VA) Author:McCaffery, Jen Area:Virginia Lines:45 Added:04/15/2004

The Roanoke Pain Specialist and His Office Manager Are Scheduled to Be Tried in November.

The second federal trial of a Roanoke pain specialist and his office manager was set Wednesday for November, according to the federal court schedule.

Cecil Byron Knox, 54, and Beverly Gale Boone, 45, are set to be tried in Roanoke from Nov. 1 through 24, according to the court docket.

Knox faces charges that he prescribed medication such as OxyContin outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, and that in some cases those prescriptions led to death or serious bodily injury. He could face a life sentence if convicted of those counts.

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34US: DEA May Tighten Access to Pain DrugWed, 31 Mar 2004
Source:Times-Picayune, The (LA) Author:Orr, J. Scott Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:04/04/2004

Hydrocodone Abuse Is at Alarming Levels

WASHINGTON - The federal government is considering tightening restrictions on narcotic pain relievers containing hydrocodone, a move that would greatly complicate pain relief therapy for millions of Americans.

Literally the opioid of the masses, medications containing hydrocodone - - Vicodin, Lortab, Norco and many others - were prescribed by doctors more than 100 million times last year, more than any other prescription drug. Opioids are synthetic forms of opiates.

Citing skyrocketing hydrocodone abuse statistics, the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration say they are considering moving hydrocodone compounds from Schedule III to the much more restrictive Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

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35US NJ: Drug's Proponents Find Proposal Hard To SwallowSun, 28 Mar 2004
Source:Star-Ledger (NJ) Author:Orr, J. Scott Area:New Jersey Lines:Excerpt Added:03/31/2004

Reclassifying Pain-Reliever To Stem Abuse Would Also Make Drug More Difficult For Patients To Get

WASHINGTON -- The federal government is considering tightening restrictions on narcotic pain relievers containing hydrocodone, a move that would greatly complicate the pain relief therapies of millions of Americans.

Literally the opioid of the masses, medication containing hydrocodone -- Vicodin, Lortab, Norco and many others -- were prescribed by doctors more than 100 million times last year, more than any other prescription drug. Opioids are synthetic forms of opiates.

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36US FL: Group Wants Painkiller Case Thrown OutTue, 30 Mar 2004
Source:St. Petersburg Times (FL) Author:Raeke, Richard Area:Florida Lines:Excerpt Added:03/30/2004

The Pain Relief Network Is Encouraging A Letter-Writing Campaign On Richard Paey's Behalf

The case of Richard Paey has gained the interest of the Pain Relief Network, a New York City-based group that serves as an advocate for pain patients and their doctors. The group is trying to raise awareness and political momentum about Paey's case in hopes that his March 5 conviction on 15 counts of drug trafficking, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and possession of controlled substances will be thrown out.

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37 US: Crackdown on Prescription AbuseTue, 02 Mar 2004
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Kaufman, Marc Area:United States Lines:112 Added:03/02/2004

U.S. Officials Want Better Monitoring, Control of Painkillers

The Bush administration unveiled an expanded crackdown yesterday on what it called the growing menace of prescription drug abuse, which it said now touches and harms more than 6 million Americans yearly.

Top administration officials said the initiative, the first comprehensive one of its kind, would increase state monitoring programs that detect suspicious prescriptions and patients suspected of doctor shopping, and would seek to better educate doctors about how to detect potential abusers of prescription drugs.

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38 US SC: Editorial: Sentences AppropriateThu, 19 Feb 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)          Area:South Carolina Lines:30 Added:02/20/2004

Judge Right To Treat Clinic Pushers Harshly

U.S. District Judge Weston Houck did well Tuesday to mete out stiff sentences for the feel-good physicians at Myrtle Beach's former Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center. The five doctors in question, whose sentences ranged from two to 24 years, may be well-educated people. But because they abetted opioid addictions of some unsuspecting patients while helping prescription drug abusers to obtain OxyContin and other addictive painkillers illegally, the five are no different from pushers of illegal drugs such as crack cocaine or heroin.

Just as pushers of illegal drugs typically get stiff jail sentences, so should white-collar pushers who operate prescription mills allowing abuse of legal drugs receive harsh treatment. They leave just as large a wake of misery as their street-corner pusher counterparts.

[end]

39 US SC: 5 Doctors' Sentences Set From 2 To 24 YearsWed, 18 Feb 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Gailliard, Kenneth A. Area:South Carolina Lines:89 Added:02/19/2004

Former Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center doctor Michael Jackson's repeated pleas - "I did not do this, sir" - couldn't keep him from receiving the longest of five sentences given Tuesday to five former pain center doctors in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Weston Houck sentenced Jackson to 24 years and four months in prison for his role in the illegal prescribing of narcotics, including potent painkiller OxyContin, at the pain center.

Others sentenced in connection with the illegal activities were Ricardo Alerre, 19 years and seven months; Deborah Bordeaux, 8 years and one month; and Deborah Sutherland and Thomas Devlin, two years each.

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40 US SC: Oxycontin Sentencing TodayTue, 17 Feb 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Gailliard, Kenneth A. Area:South Carolina Lines:83 Added:02/18/2004

Five Doctors Guilty Of Illegal Activities At Pain Center

Five doctors from the former Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center will be sentenced today in federal court in Florence, nearly three years after the clinic closed and its doctors were charged with illegally distributing narcotics, including the painkiller OxyContin.

Drs. Michael Jackson, Ricardo Alerre, Deborah Bordeaux, Deborah Sutherland and Thomas Devlin

are among eight doctors named in a 93-count indictment alleging illegal activities at the clinic between 1997 and 2001.

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41 US SC: Advocates: Prescription Drug Database Would Curb AbusesSat, 14 Feb 2004
Source:Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) Author:Davenport, Jim Area:South Carolina Lines:103 Added:02/14/2004

[" I had someone approach me in my own yard trying to sell me different forms of prescription drugs." Tracy Edge (R) - North Myrtle Beach]

COLUMBIA - A statewide drug-sales monitoring system will curb diversion of prescription medicine to drug dealers and abusers, say advocates, including Rep. Tracy Edge, R-North Myrtle Beach.

They want a state database to collect information on prescription drug sales ranging from morphine to cough medicine with codeine as part of an effort to catch people shopping their ailments to multiple doctors just to get powerful drugs.

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42 US SC: Advocates Say Drug Database Will Curb AbusesSat, 14 Feb 2004
Source:Spartanburg Herald Journal (SC) Author:Davenport, Jim Area:South Carolina Lines:104 Added:02/14/2004

COLUMBIA -- A statewide drug sales monitoring system will curb diversion of prescription medicine to drug dealers and abusers, advocates say.

They want a state database to collect information on prescription drug sales ranging from morphine to cough medicine with codeine as part of an effort to catch people shopping their ailments to multiple doctors just to get powerful drugs.

The state has no way of knowing the extent of the problem, though. "Without a program like this, we don't really know what's going on," said Wilbur Harling, with the state Bureau of Drug Control at the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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43 US VA: New Charges Pile UP On Pain DoctorThu, 22 Jan 2004
Source:Roanoke Times (VA) Author:McCaffery, Jen Area:Virginia Lines:95 Added:01/22/2004

The New Counts Against Cecil Byron Knox And Two Associates Come Less Than Three Months After A Roanoke Jury Did Not Convict Them On Any Charges.

A federal grand jury in Charlottesville returned new charges against Roanoke pain specialist Cecil Byron Knox and two associates Wednesday.

The new counts against Knox, his office manager Beverly Gale Boone, and licensed professional counselor Willard Newbill "Bill" James Jr. are the latest development in the case against them. This indictment replaces the old charges they faced, and it reflects some information that came out at their first trial.

[continues 592 words]

44 US FL: Patients, MDs Fight Pain-Pill Tracking PlanSat, 17 Jan 2004
Source:Orlando Sentinel (FL) Author:Bloodsworth, Doris Area:Florida Lines:113 Added:01/17/2004

Pain patients and doctors who treat them gathered in Orlando on Friday to speak out against a proposed statewide prescription-tracking program and denounce upcoming state and national hearings on prescription-drug abuse.

"These hearings are one-sided, and we believe they're stacked for a pre-determined outcome," said Kathryn Serkes, a spokeswoman for the Tucson, Ariz.-based Association of American Physicians & Surgeons.

"Somehow, it seems that in Florida, that if you have a problem in the system, that it's just much easier to go after doctors and patients, or go after 'drug dealers' and 'addicts,' than to figure out what's really going on here," she said.

[continues 587 words]

45 US AL: PUB LTE: Pain Relief NetworkSat, 17 Jan 2004
Source:Mobile Register (AL) Author:Egolf, John Area:Alabama Lines:79 Added:01/17/2004

After reading an editorial in the Mobile Register recently and an excellent commentary by Mark Kaufman, a Washington Post staff writer, I became very concerned about the Justice Department's and the Drug Enforcement Administration's persecution of pain specialists. Some examples may suffice to explain the irresponsible actions of law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration have harassed and persecuted pain-specialist doctors for prescribing OxyContin and Lortab. Jeri Hassman, a Tucson pain doctor, was arrested and put in jail for successfully treating patients for chronic pain.

[continues 395 words]

46 US IL: Column: The War on Drugs Takes a Painful TurnSun, 11 Jan 2004
Source:Illinois Times (IL) Author:Terzian, Philip Area:Illinois Lines:97 Added:01/10/2004

Everyone's had a good laugh this season at Rush Limbaugh's expense: The news that Mr. Know-It-All Conservative was addicted to prescription painkillers was nearly as pleasing to critics as the prospect of his indictment for buying controlled substances. Not since the pursuit of Linda Tripp by a zealous prosecutor in Maryland has there been such excitement among people ordinarily skeptical about law enforcement.

Yet Limbaugh is more emblematic than people might imagine. It is estimated that some 50 million Americans suffer chronic, sometimes debilitating, pain of some sort, and medical progress to treat this human torment is on a collision course with the War on Drugs.

[continues 664 words]

47 US FL: Column: A War On Drugs Or A War On Healing?Mon, 05 Jan 2004
Source:Tallahassee Democrat (FL) Author:Terzian, Philip Area:Florida Lines:99 Added:01/10/2004

Everyone's had a good laugh this season at Rush Limbaugh's expense: The news that Mr. Know-It-All Conservative was addicted to prescription painkillers was nearly as pleasing to critics as the prospect of his indictment for buying controlled substances. Not since the pursuit of Linda Tripp by a zealous prosecutor in Maryland has there been such excitement among people ordinarily skeptical about law enforcement.

Yet Rush Limbaugh is more emblematic than people might imagine. It is estimated that some 50 million Americans suffer chronic, sometimes debilitating, pain of some sort, and medical progress to treat this human torment is on a collision course with the War on Drugs.

[continues 606 words]

48 US KY: Kentucky Teenagers Abusing Cold PillsWed, 07 Jan 2004
Source:Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Author:Meehan, Mary Area:Kentucky Lines:135 Added:01/09/2004

Cheap Drug Available Over The Counter

Found over the counter, not on a street corner, the latest troublesome drug making inroads with Central Kentucky teens is an easily accessible cough remedy: Coricidin.

"It was a surprise for me," said Pat Cardona, director of outpatient services at Comprehensive Care Center in Cynthiana. "I thought somebody was just telling a story. It was just so goofy."

But, she said, after seeing a rising number of teens abusing the medicine, including a 15-year-old who ended up in intensive care during her third emergency room visit for an overdose, "it's not a surprise anymore."

[continues 829 words]

49 US VA: Board Voices Serious Concerns About Proposed MethadoneFri, 09 Jan 2004
Source:Bristol Herald Courier (VA) Author:Dumond, Chris Area:Virginia Lines:115 Added:01/09/2004

BRISTOL, Va. - Members of a local health agency's board said Thursday they have some serious concerns about a proposed methadone clinic but did not take a definitive stance against it.

Clinic operators from South Carolina have asked Washington County for permission to open a clinic in Lowry Hills subdivision near the county-city line.

Subdivision residents, county supervisors and state legislators are opposed.

Members of the Highlands Community Services Board, the government health agency charged with providing substance-abuse treatment in Bristol and Washington County, said they would draft a letter outlining their concerns to be sent to the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Mark Reeter and state legislators.

[continues 603 words]

50 US NY: Column: War On Drugs Targrting PhysiciansMon, 05 Jan 2004
Source:Watertown Daily Times (NY) Author:Terzian, Philip Area:New York Lines:88 Added:01/07/2004

WASHINGTON - Everyone's had a good laugh this season at Rush Limbaugh's expense: The news that Mr. Know-It-All Conservative was addicted to prescription painkillers was nearly as pleasing to critics as the prospect of his indictment for buying controlled substances.

Yet Limbaugh is more emblematic than people might imagine. It is estimated that some 50 million Americans suffer chronic, sometimes debilitating, pain of some sort, and medical progress to treat this human torment is on a collision course with the war on drugs.

[continues 540 words]

51US GA: Column: Painkillers The New Villain In Drug WarTue, 06 Jan 2004
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Terzian, Philip Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:01/07/2004

Everyone's had a good laugh this season at Rush Limbaugh's expense: The news that Mr. Know-It-All Conservative was addicted to prescription painkillers was nearly as pleasing to critics as the prospect of his indictment for buying controlled substances.

Yet Limbaugh is more emblematic than people might imagine. It is estimated that some 50 million Americans suffer chronic, sometimes debilitating, pain of some sort, and medical progress to treat this human torment is on a collision course with the war on drugs.

[continues 548 words]


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