Pain patients and doctors face severe mandatory minimum prison terms

Florida has seen a growing problem of patients dying from prescription pain drug misuse.  The legislature’s solution of harsh mandatory minimum sentences – sometimes up to 20 years – for “drug offences” may be making matters worse.  Patients in need of pain medication and the doctors trying to help them are now often trapped in this criminalization of medicine.   As a consequence doctors are increasingly fearful to help these patients who then turn to illegal and unsupervised means to aleve their pain. Greg Newburn, Florida Director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, discusses with Michael Ostrolenk what his organization is doing to help restore sanity and give judges back their discretion in these cases.

War on Pain Doctors and Patients

Doctors who treat chronic pain are increasingly targeted, prosecuted, and sent to prison by the Drug Enforcement Agency and Dept. of Justice. This war on doctors has led to widespread undertreatment of patients who require schedule 2 pharmaceuticals to relieve their pain. Siobhan Reynolds of the Pain Relief Network, www.painreliefnetwork.org, is fighting back to help the patients and physicians who are under siege.

In this interview Ms. Reynolds speaks with Michael Ostrolenk of AAPS and Dane vonBreichenruchardt of the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation, www.usbr.org. She gives an overview of the issues involved and recounts how she has been fined and even faced prison simply by being an effective advocate for those who few others will stand up for.