Blogs from February, 2012

(February 3, 2012 Chicago) Attorneys for Dr. Joseph Giacchino today filed a Memorandum in Chancery Court rejecting the accuracy and validity of evidence and testimony used by the Illinois State Medical Licensing Board in revoking the license of the controversial pain doctor (case #11CH 24443). Dr. Giacchino's attorneys seek to overturn the revocation of his license and restoration of his right to provide care to his patients; patients whose lives have been adversely affected by the ravages of unmitigated pain. This case is important to rights of 4,000 physicians in the United States, many of whom are being targeted for prosecution by the DEA simply because they treat chronic pain which affects over 116 million Americans.

The DEA was established in 1973 with its founding mission being that of combating the sale and distribution of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, "crack" cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in urban areas. However, in 1999, the DEA came under heavy criticism from Congress on the grounds that there was no measurable proof that the DEA had reduced the illegal drug supply in the country. In fact by all measurable accounts and over a half a trillion dollars later, the War on Drugs was deemed a failure. Since then, the DEA has more than doubled its budget and continues to seek more funds to justify its expansion by focusing on what the Department of Justice has proclaimed, (despite what many in the scientific and medical community point out is a stark lack of proof) the so called epidemic of prescribed drugs. "The DEA, by abusing some sensationalist media, has invented an epidemic in the minds of some government officials in order to justify massive budget increases.

The Village Voice reports that "federal officials claim that nearly 500 people died from overdosing on OxyContin in 2002, but a recent article in The Journal of Analytical Toxicology could find only 12 cases in which OxyContin was the sole cause of death; all the others fell victim to poly-drug abuse—mixing OxyContin with cocaine, alcohol, Valium or various other substances." [1]

This make believe crisis has provided an irresistible incentive by the DEA to focus on pain specialists who the DEA has discovered make easy targets. These specialists are often driven out of business and into bankruptcy just to defend themselves.

"My client, Dr. Giacchino is, and has been, a very high-profile target of the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) self-proclaimed 'war on pain doctors,'" asserted Giacchino's lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva, "his crime has never been any impropriety, but only being one of the largest pain management doctors in the nation and having a commensurate lifestyle with which one local tabloid columnist seems obsessed." Specialists such as Dr. Giacchino provide treatment and a manageable quality of life for those with spinal injuries, fibromyalgia and other chronic injuries and conditions.

According to the Pain Relief Network's Siobhan Reynolds, "All over America, pain patients are committing suicide because of the DEA's campaign," she claims. "I know of at least 17 recent cases in Arkansas alone. It's really astonishing the amount of human carnage that this campaign has already caused." [1]

A Time Magazine expose of this serial abuse asks, "Why is the DEA Hounding This Doctor?" [2] Ron Libby, a professor of political science at the University of North Florida and author of The Criminalization of Medicine: America's War on Doctors, tells legendary investigative journalist John Stossel, "this government crackdown leaves thousands of patients in pain. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons says this to its members: If you're thinking about getting into pain management using opioids as appropriate: DON'T. Forget what you learned in medical school – drug agents [from the DEA] now set medical standards." [3]

"We have, unfortunately, become a society that begrudges and resents superior talent, hard work and the success that it produces," de Silva observed, "Dr. Giacchino has seen his professional practice and his life turned upside down simply based on witless media mavens and well-connected, but unscrupulous and vindictive former associates."

"The Licensing Board has demonstrated a fundamental unfamiliarity with such basic tenets as due process and credible testimony," de Silva continued, "its decisions have been based on cursory examination and interpretation of notes; the testimony of paid witnesses whose character and credibility are, at best, undetectable; and, individuals who, motivated by vituperation at the fact that Dr. Giacchino refused to continue to supply them with drugs, with which to self-medicate, have exercised their influence with the Board to deny him his protected right to make a living."

R. Tamara de Silva's associate Attorney Jonathan Lubin commented that, "The Department was under pressure from a few in the Press and others to take away the Doctor's livelihood. The mob wanted blood and they got it. The problem is that the evidence just wasn't there."