Chronic pain sufferers betrayed: how the FDA and DEA deny access to safe, effective pain relief

Ever wondered why your doctor treats you like a potential criminal for asking for pain relief? Blame the FDA and DEA's callous approach to healthcare. According to Jeffrey A. Singer and Josh Bloom at Reason, Americans are left to suffer while these agencies play catch-up with the rest of the civilized world.

The DEA has made it a mission to track every pill, turning doctors into reluctant gatekeepers, terrified of a DEA raid. The result? A chronic pain patient's worst nightmare. Instead of getting relief, they're often pushed towards the dangerous, unregulated world of street drugs. "Virtually all patients who have diseases or chronic pain conditions will say that the emergency department is the single worst place to go for relief from severe pain," Singer and Bloom write. "Doctors and hospitals are often more concerned about law enforcement looking over their shoulders than patient care. Patients desperate for pain relief often turn to street drugs, where they fall victim to counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl (or worse) instead of a legal opioid."

Meanwhile, our friends in Australia, Canada, and Europe have been using a safer alternative for pain relief called Penthrox for years. But the FDA, in its infinite wisdom, decided that Americans should wait… indefinitely. Even though this "green whistle" has proven to be effective and low-risk, the FDA only lifted its "clinical hold" in 2022, and we're still waiting on trials. But really, people who need pain relief now shouldn't be so impatient — suffering builds character!

The FDA's track record on timely approvals is laughable. Remember how long it took for Americans to buy Claritin over the counter? Or for women to get Plan B without a prescription? The lobbyist-controlled FDA and the drunken corrupt cowboys at the DEA has a habit of dragging its feet while other countries move forward. If pain victims want to stop suffering, they should pay someone like Donald Rumsfeld to force the FDA to rubber stamp it like he did with aspartame.

The solution seems simple (though I'm sure it isn't so simple): increase funding to the FDA and restrict lobbyist access, and do away entirely with the DEA.