TUCSON DOCTOR INDICTED ON "DRUG" CHARGES SPEAKS OUT
National Group Announces Support, Unveils Campaign to Stop Rx Drug Abuse & Halt "War on Physicians"
The Arizona medical community was shocked by the recent indictment of Tucson physician Jeri Hassman, M.D., on charges stemming from her prescribing of legal pain relief for her patients. On the eve of her July trial date and prison term up to 28 years if convicted, a national physicians' group is announcing their support for Dr. Hassman, explaining that this is a national disgrace - doctors throughout the country are being targeted by egregious law enforcement for helping patients manage crippling pain with controlled, legal drugs.
"Throughout the United States, physicians are being threatened, impoverished, delicensed, and imprisoned for prescribing in good faith with the intention of relieving pain," says Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), explaining why AAPS has decided toe support Dr. Hassman.
The "War on Drugs" has come to mean a war on lawful drugs also-and against the doctors who prescribe them and the patients who take them. Prosecutors make careers out of high-publicity cases involving the hot "drug du jour" such as OxyContin. But this war is causing enormous collateral damage and deaths from "friendly fire." Physicians have been drummed out of practice, sent to jail, and even been driven to suicide in the face of these 21st century witch hunts. If this continues, not one doctor will be willing to prescribe the drugs that patients so desperately need.
The real problem is not drugs, but drug misuse. All physicians are against drug abuse. Drugs are dangerous and must be treated with respect. Yet to many patients, drugs are life-saving. To stop the misuse of prescribed drugs-without depriving patients of life-saving medication-requires cooperation between law enforcement and physicians, not persecutions and prosecutions.
AAPS Executive Director, Jane M. Orient, will expose the deceitful tactics employed by law enforcement to snare doctors, as well as prosecutors' manipulation of the legal system to frighten doctors and patients who might be willing to testify on behalf of the wrongfully accused doctors. Dr. Hassman will announce her campaign for proper drug use, in conjunction with AAPS's recommendations for legal remedies to protect doctors from overzealous prosecutions.
Other doctors as well as patients will give first-hand accounts of the devastating impact of this "war" on patients' access to the drugs that enable them to carry on their lives. Also available will be a partial list of other prosecuted physicians .
NOTE: The Association of American Physicians & Surgeons is a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all specialties, dedicated since 1943 to protection of the patient-physician relationship. AAPS is dues supported, and accepts no government funding, or pharmaceutical or other corporate underwriting.