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DEA Crackdown Causes Elderly Pain

Laws are designed to protect people, not harm them. In this case, it’s causing harm and unnecessary pain. The Justice Department, DEA and legislators have to figure out a way to strike a balancepills

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, according to two Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts.

Tougher enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, which tightly restricts the distribution of pain medicines such as 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 Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. this month, urging that the Obama administration 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.

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