The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has pulled from its Web site a document on prescription pain medications that was intended to answer questions from doctors who were being threatenened with prosecution for prescribing high doses of painkillers. The paper, posted in August, was listed as being “supported” by DEA, the Last Acts Partnership, and the Pain & Policy Studies Group of the University of Wisconsin.
The DEA now says that the “document contained misstatements” and “was not approved as an official statement of the agency.” No DEA spokesperson was available today to identify the misstatements. In August, Crime & Justice News cited a Washington Post report that DEA and top pain specialists had agreed on joint guidelines designed to reassure doctors that they would not be prosecuted for legitimate prescriptions. Eric Sterling of the Maryland-based Criminal Justice Policy Foundation called the withdrawn paper a “reasonable and balanced document.” He speculated that DEA was pressured to remove it for fear that it would be cited by defense attorneys in criminal cases brought by the agency.