Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Epiphany of John Tierney

John Tierney, formerly one of the two Bush flacks (David Brooks is the other) on the NYTimes op-ed page has had a moment of sudden insight.

Dear John has perceived that Bush's Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice are dangerous lunatics because they threaten and actually jail doctors for prescribing opioid painkillers for patients who desperately need them.

Some excerpts:

As attorney general, John Ashcroft decided that Oregon's law allowing physician-assisted suicide violated the federal Controlled Substances Act because he didn't consider this use of drugs to be a "legitimate medical purpose." Karen Tandy, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has been using this same legal theory to decree how doctors should medicate patients with pain, and those who disagree with her medical judgment can be sent to prison.

Tierney goes on to say that Republicans have lost their bearings. He concludes:

The Supreme Court's decision is a victory for patients and their doctors - including, I hope, some of the ones in prison for violating the federal legal theory that has now been rejected by the court. The doctors should go free, and Republicans in the White House and Congress should restrain the drug warriors who locked them up. When this year's budget is drawn up, it's the D.E.A.'s turn to feel pain.

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