Measured Against Reality

Monday, August 27, 2007

Doctor imprisoned for being a doctor

Yet another victim of the drug war. This time our tax dollars are being wasted persecuting a doctor for no reason. I challenge anyone to read this and not be infuriated:

Even before the jury returned its [guilty] verdict, there were problems with the government’s case. Start with Dr. Clough, who despite government assertions to the contrary is no expert on pain treatment. When questioned on the witness stand, Clough was unaware of some basic legal guidelines any doctor who regularly prescribes pain medication should have known.

For example, he was ignorant of the fact that at the time, it was illegal for a doctor to post-date a prescription for opioid painkillers. Clough also didn’t review all of the five witnesses’ histories, only those portions of them provided by the government. He didn’t speak to or examine any of the women. For this, the government then paid him approximately $11,000.

Four of the five women who testified against Dr. Rottschaefer alleged a sex-for-drugs arrangement. But all four initially denied any sex took place. They changed their stories after conversations with federal prosecutors. It so happens that all four were also facing their own criminal charges at the time, and it’s now clear that all four received reductions in their own charges or sentences in exchange for their testimony.

This sounds like the Duke Lacrosse case, but so do most cases of insane prosecutorial excess. And believe it or not, it gets worse from there. Go read the full article if you want all of the head-exploding detail.

The sad thing is that cases like this aren't unique. All over the country people are being thrown in jail for prescribing drugs, for taking prescribed drugs, or even for having proscribed drugs. The poor people who need these drugs to manage their pain are prosecuted to advance some heartless bureaucrat's career or justify the shiny new equipment and trainees and prisons. It's fucking disgusting.

And keep in mind that these are prescription drugs, drugs that the government admits are safe for use. If the government isn't going to let doctors do their jobs without fear of pointless prosecution, how is anyone in chronic pain going to live their life?

I suppose the moral crusaders would rather have people with pain without drugs than have people without pain with drugs. What a wonderful world they're creating for us (and that's not including all of the other frightening aspects of the drug war, the loss of civil rights, increasing militarization of police, billions of wasted dollars, etc).

I still don't understand why there's no outrage about any of these cases. That's almost as infuriating as the original incident. We're becoming a nation of idiot sheep, and it's damn sad to watch.



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