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....
The DEA has sought to prevent drug theft and abuse by staff members in nursing homes, requiring signatures from doctors and an extra layer of approvals when certain pain drugs are ordered for sick patients.
The law, however, "fails to recognize how prescribing practitioners and the nurses who work for long-term care facilities and hospice programs actually order prescription medications," Kohl and Whitehouse write. They conclude that delays can lead to "adverse health outcomes and unnecessary rehospitalizations, not to mention needless suffering."
Most nursing homes do not have pharmacies or doctors on site, adding to delays for patients who fall ill late at night or in transition from a hospital.
Yeah, I'm glad we spend bazillions of dollars on a Federal agency to prevent the victimless crime of providing Percosett to senior citizens in completely controlled residential medical environments.
The idea that an occasional nurse might steal a bottle of pain meds is obviously far more important than relieving the pain of tens of thousands of old people.