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The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) should be called the 'Drug Enabling Agency'Marianne Skolek Salem-News.com
Until government agencies set up to protect the American people recognize their role and, in fact, protect rather than accept payoffs, we will be completely immersed in a scourge of prescription drug death, addiction and abuse.
(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - This past week, an investigative journalist named Guy Taylor wrote an eye-opening expose' regarding the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and their part in the staggering production of narcotics in this country in the past decade plus. Mr. Taylor's article in its entirety is linked below.
For years, I have questioned government agencies as to why a dangerous drug such as OxyContin is in such plentiful supply on the streets. It has been quite obvious that the manufacturer of the drug, Purdue Pharma is not just manufacturing it for the "legitimate pain patient."
But what government agency, or agencies, is allowing this epidemic of drug abuse, addiction and death to continue to manifest itself throughout the U.S. and Canada? Having been told by a Federal Drug Administration (FDA) official years ago that they did not have the "manpower to police Purdue Pharma", it now seems that no one was policing the DEA as they opened the floodgates in the production of narcotics -- allowing the pharmaceutical companies to reap their financial rewards.
It was reported that the number of visits to hospital emergency departments from non-medical abuse of prescription narcotics rose 256% between 2004 and 2009.
In Maine, the state's Office of Substance Abuse reported more than 4 million prescription painkiller pills had been legally prescribed in 2010 -- 5 times the amount legally prescribed in 2006.
And in Ohio, the number of pain pills prescribed has risen by 900% since 1997. A chief of communications official for Ohio's Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services made the profound statement "There's just no way that there's been a 900% increase in pain."
A DEA head in the Office of Diversion Control, until his retirement in 1997, by the name of Gene Haislip, has become very disillusioned with his agency and is speaking out.
"For those of us who devoted our careers to the DEA and drug enforcement, we really love the agency, but you can't love them when they screw up. You've got to have some kind of principles. It's well known that narcotic prescription drugs sold in the United States must first be approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be legally mass produced and marketed. Less known is the fact that the DEA and specifically the Office of Diversion Control then has the power and responsibility to decide how much of a particular drug can be legally manufactured and sent to market each year."
In 1997, a year after prescription drugmaker Purdue Pharma first brought OxyContin to market, the total production quota approved by the DEA's Office of Diversion Control was 8.3 tons. By 2011, it had risen to 105 tons, representing a 1,200 percent increase and what Haislip calls "the Cadillac of America's prescription drug abuse crisis."
"With OxyContin there has been a significant diversion problem since the late 1990's, so the requests should have come under greater scrutiny -- that apparently didn't happen," Haislip said.
Mr. Taylor asked the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) if the 900 percent increase in opioids prescribed in Ohio might represent over-saturation of the market, the office provided him with a series of unrelated talking points from a press release on the White House plan. His request to interview ONDCP officials was ignored. According to Taylor, perhaps most disconcerting was ONDCP’s response to his question about DEA approval of manufacturing quotas for narcotics:
“DEA and FDA work together to establish the quotas for controlled substances,” the ONDCP spokesman wrote. “Our data show that dispensed prescriptions for opioids between 2008 and 2009 did not increase. This stabilization in dispensed prescriptions was then followed by a period of flattening in the total production quota for oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxymorphone in both 2010 and 2011. This suggests a leveling off in production."
This to me suggests that the same agencies that were set up to protect our country are but pawns being used by the pharmaceutical industry. Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies are members of the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA". In August, I wrote about the National Association of Board of Pharmacy in Ohio accepting a $1,000,000 check from Purdue Pharma -- the same company who brought them their plague. See the link below.
I have already written extensively on the pain societies funded by the pharmaceutical industry who are lobbying groups pushing the bogus marketing line "the undertreatment of pain" in America. In particular, the American Pain Foundation taking in millions of dollars to push narcotics -- where is the Congressional investigation of these pain societies?
Until government agencies set up to protect the American people recognize their role and, in fact, protect rather than accept payoffs, we will be completely immersed in a scourge of prescription drug death, addiction and abuse. Hang your heads, FDA, DEA and pharmacy boards -- you are responsible for countless deaths and the ruination of American families to prescription drugs -- while pharmaceutical companies line their pockets with blood money.
LP -- Love can only get stronger with belief in each other and our continued journey.
Salem-News.com Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.
Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
Staff Writer, Salem-News.com