Are Denying Pain Relief to Those Who Need It Most


Mark L. Horwitz

The DEA enforces drug laws, including laws affecting the filling of pain prescriptions by pharmacists. As part of its enforcement efforts, the DEA routinely visits pharmacies and reviews records to determine if the pharmacist lived up to DEA’s regulations and unofficial guidelines. All pharmacies are subject to the scrutiny of the DEA, from individually owned  pharmacies to major national companies. While the DEA’s efforts are aimed at stopping the illegal sale of drugs, including pain medication, its actions in relation to pharmacies has had devastating consequences for many law abiding members of the Central Florida community.

The harm caused by the DEA’s enforcement efforts is borne most heavily by those who are sick and in pain. Cancer patients, accident victims, those recuperating from serious surgery, as well as many others suffering severe pain, have found it difficult, if not impossible to have pain medication prescriptions filled. Pain medicine, such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin and Percocet are denied to law abiding people who are suffering from severe pain. Pharmacists are refusing to fill the prescriptions because of the actions by the DEA.

WESH Channel 2, in a special investigative report entitled A State of Pain, shed light on this problem. The report by WESH included many interviews that revealed the human cost in pain and suffering being endured by Central Floridians as a result of the DEA’s misguided policies and arbitrary second guessing of pharmacists. DEA officials were interviewed about the negative impact upon the public caused by the DEA’s enforcement practices and claimed no responsibility. Perhaps the DEA does not recognize its own power and the impact of misguided enforcement policies upon pharmacists.

Several state and federal legislatures have commented that they are looking into the DEA’s enforcement policies and its effect in depriving legitimately suffering patients from filling needed prescriptions for pain medicine. The special report by WESH helped to raise public awareness of this serious problem. Congressmen and Senators from Florida should take action to help those living in pain to fill legitimate prescriptions. It is time to stop the pain and suffering caused by the DEA’s misguided pressure on pharmacists.

Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A. | 17 East Pine St. Orlando, FL 32801 | P: 407-843-7733 | F: 407-849-1321 |

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