Pain Control and Drug Policy
A Time for Change
by Guy B. Faguet, MD
April 2010, 238pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38280-2
$95, £74, 83€, A131
Paperback: 978-1-4408-3584-1
$45, £35, 40€, A62
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38281-9
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Over 70 million adult Americans suffer from chronic pain, which costs the US economy $61 billion a year in lost productivity, not counting medical bills. Left untreated, chronic pain gradually kills its victims while ruining their lives. The only effective way to manage many cases of chronic pain is with opioids, yet fewer than half of all chronic pain sufferers in America get adequate pain relief from their doctors. Why? Physicians fear that if they prescribe Schedule II opioids in accordance with AMA-approved standards of titrated pain management, they will be hounded and criminalized by the DEA.

This book offers an in indictment of the nation's drug enforcement approach focusing on the short-sighted policies that often deny patients suffering from chronic pain the medications they need.

Pain Control and Drug Policy: A Time for Change focuses on America’s national crisis in pain management caused by the widening divergence between the enormous contributions of opioids (“narcotics”) to pain management in the clinical setting and the mistaken belief that they are dangerous, highly addictive drugs. After dissecting the strategy and tactics of the War on Drugs from medical, historical, legal, socioeconomic, and geopolitical perspectives, Guy Faguet MD indicts the 40-year-long War on Drugs for having failed to stem the supply of illicit drugs in America despite expenditures of half a trillion dollars, despite violating the basic human right to pain relief of tens of millions of American chronic pain sufferers, and despite fomenting organized crime, government corruption, racial injustice, and social disruption in both the United States and the producer countries. He concludes with a clarion call for the abandonment of the War on Drugs, disbanding the Drug Enforcement Administration, and encouraging Congress to repeal the Controlled Substances Act.

As a clinical and research oncologist responsible for the chronic pain management of thousands of cancer patients over the course of his 30-year career, Dr. Faguet knows that the most effective and safest way to manage most cases of chronic pain is with opioids. All modern pain-management textbooks advocate “titration to effect” in cases where opioids help: that is, gradually increasing the dosage until either the pain is acceptably controlled or the side effects begin to outweigh the pain-relief benefits. Yet the vast majority of doctors don’t practice what the medical textbooks teach and instead prescribe opioids very reluctantly and conservatively. As a result, only half of all chronic pain sufferers-and fewer than half of all cancer patients-get adequate pain relief from their doctors. Why do physicians radically undertreat pain that is susceptible to opioid analgesics? They fear that if they prescribe Schedule II opioids in accordance with the professional standards of pain management set by such medical bodies as the American Pain Society, they will be investigated by the DEA, stigmatized, prosecuted as criminals, stripped of their licenses, and sent to jail. Visit Guy B. Faguet, MD’s website here:


  • Chronologies showing the events that led to Prohibition and its repeal, of drug use through the ages, and of the political history of drug policy in the United States and worldwide
  • Six line graphs and eight tables conveying important information about pain relief as well as the War on Drugs
  • Includes a thorough bibliography of works cited in the book
Guy B. Faguet, MD, is retired professor of medicine in hematology/oncology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, where he practiced, taught, and conducted research for 30 years. He was director of cancer immunology and flow cytometry at the Veteran Administration Medical Center in Augusta. He was a consultant for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Veterans Administration, and American Cancer Society. He belonged to the American Association of Immunologists, American Federation for Clinical Research, American Society of Hematology, International Society of Hematology, New York Academy of Sciences, Reticuloendothelial Society, Southeastern Cancer Research Association, Southern Medical Association, and Southern Society for Clinical Investigation. He was a reviewer for Blood, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Canadian Journal of Biochemistry, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Cancer Research, and The Journal of Membrane Biology. Dr. Faguet has published 150 refereed articles and three books: Hematologic Malignancies: Methods and Techniques, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Molecular Genetics, Biology, Diagnosis, and Management, and The War on Cancer: An Anatomy of Failure, a Blueprint for the Future. Visit Guy B. Faguet, MD's website here:


"Faguet's credentials as an oncologist, with numerous medical publications to his credit, add weight to his arguments. His writing style is clear, straightforward, coherent, and very readable. ... Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, December 1, 2010

"Faguet's book is the latest classic in a growing literature on the divisive and counterproductive nature of drug wars. In passionate terms, he describes the history and development of current legislation and reveals that, far from protecting society, current drug policy undermines the fragile social, political, and legal infrastructures of producer countries and penalizes millions of petty offenders and pain sufferers in consumer countries. Strongly argued and uncompromising, this is essential reading for anyone with an open-mind, and an interest in drugs and drug legislation."—John B.Davies BA., Ph.D., C.Psychol., FBPsS., FRSM, Professor of Psychology, Director, Centre for Applied Social Psychology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

"This book is a captivating and a powerfully expressed condemnation of the mindless folly of drug policy. Its great strength is the clarity of thought and power of expression and its broad scope that shows the ‘big picture’ while at the same time providing historical and social context and detailed factual and scientific supportive arguments. Chapter Four on current theories of addiction in particular is a tour de force – a forensic analysis that compels with unerring logic, lucidity, and pithy expression. This book is a hugely informative and thought-provoking enterprise, which provides many fascinating items of information, including many quotable phrases and sentences, and forces the reader to look across different domains and recognize their importance." —Paul O'Mahony Ph.D., Criminologist and Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin

“This book provides a dispassionate and multifaceted analysis of the harmful effects of drug policy on American society and drug-producer countries. It highlights the American pain management crisis caused by DEA’s overzealous enforcement of drug laws and includes vivid descriptions of massive human rights violations perpetrated by narco-guerillas and narco-terrorists. Dr. Faguet concludes that the best means to drastically reduce negative drug policy outcomes is to re-legalize all illicit drugs.” —Jeffrey A. Miron, Ph.D., Senior lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University and author of Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition
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