Critics: DEA Crackdown Denies Pain Medication To Patients


A Drug Enforcement Administration crackdown on narcotics abuse is producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, says the Washington Post, quoting Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts.

Tougher enforcement of the law that tightly restricts the distribution of pain medicines like morphine and Percocet is causing pharmacies to balk and is leading to delays in pain relief for those patients and seniors in long-term-care facilities, wrote Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). They asked Attorney General Eric Holder to issue new directives to the DEA and support a possible legislative fix for the problem, which has bothered nursing home administrators and geriatric experts for years. DEA has sought to prevent drug theft and abuse by staff members in nursing homes, requiring signatures from doctors and an extra layer of approvals when certain pain drugs are ordered for sick patients.

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