April 12 , 2000
Action Alert - Attention Needed Today, 4/12/00
There is an urgent need for all PCC members and friends
to call the office of Senator Gordon Smith immediately. All
you need to do is call 202-224-3753 and tell his office who
you are, where you are from, and that you are "calling Senator
Smith to urge him to contact Senator Hatch to encourage him
to bring the Pain Relief Promotion Act to a vote in his committee
this Thursday. Any further delay will clearly be designed
to kill this bill which protects both doctors and patients.
We urge him to contact Senator Hatch today to get this bill
If you have additional time and energy, also call his Oregon
office at 326-3386 and also fax a note to him at 1-202-228-3997.
Volume is important. And timing is everything. Now is the
time. Call today.
Cathy Hamilton is flying to Washington tonight to talk with
the Senator tomorrow. She needs your support in the form
of your calls to Senator Smith. Get your family and friends
to call, too. You don't have to be a doctor to do this. Tomorrow
(Wednesday) is the key day! Don't delay.
Here's the background. Delicate negotiations have gotten
all remaining concerns about wording of the bill resolved.
Not only is the AMA 100% on board, but also several groups
dealing with pain care which were waiting until there was
a bit better wording to make it clear that this bill gives
no new authority to the federal government are now also on
board. The wording is perfect. The Senate will go on recess
after this week. That is why Ron Wyden is using all kinds
of tricks and trying so hard to stall the bill. It will basically
die if it does not come out of committee this week. We have
not called for lots of letters and calls to Senator Smith
before out of courtesy and because we believe he will vote
the right way if it comes to a vote. The problem is getting
this thing to a vote. And to do that we need Senator Smith's
help NOW! We don't need him to go to the newspapers. We just
need him to contact Senator Hatch and to do what he can to
get the committee to vote this Thursday. If Senator Smith
continues to hang back, he will be allowing himself to be
perceived as supporting Wyden's call for more and more debate,
which actually means no debate and no vote and no protection
for vulnerable patients who are being given overdoses of
controlled substances instead of treatment and care. We need
your help, now.
Greg Hamilton, M.D. President, PCC
April 24, 2000
A Call for More Calls
Our telephone campaign was heard by Senator Smith -- loud
and clear! Now, he needs to keep hearing from us. Even if
you called last week, call again this week. His phone needs
to keep ringing. Here is a sample message for this week.
Feel free to use this one or to make up your own. Have your
friends and family call, too. Please call (202-224-3753)
SAMPLE: "I am calling to let Senator Smith know I am counting
on him next Tuesday to make a strong statement in favor of
the Pain Relief Promotion Act and to urge Senate Majority
Leader, Trent Lott, to take the Pain Relief Promotion Act
to the floor of the Senate for a vote."
A potential letter and fax will be sent to you by separate
email (see below). His Oregon office number for
an additional call is 326-3386. The intensity and frequency
of the message is what he needs to hear. If you voted for
him, it doesn't hurt to remind his office that you are the
ones who voted for him and you are counting on him. There
is still time for him to get a letter. Letters, faxes, calls.
He needs to hear from us by all the routes possible. Now
is the time!
(P.S. If, in addition, you want to let Wyden know what you
think of his attempts to stifle national debate through tricks
and filibusters, you can give him a call at 202-224-5244;
that doesn't hurt either.)
N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D.
April 24, 2000
A Sample Letter for Senator Smith
In addition to phone calls, Senator Smith needs to hear
from us in letters and faxes. The following sample letter
will still get to him on time through the regular mail. Also
send it by fax. The Senator needs to hear from us by all
possible routes, even if you called him last week.
Honorable Senator Gordon Smith
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
RE: PAIN RELIEF PROMOTION ACT (S1272) NATIONAL PRIORITY
Dear Senator Smith: I am counting on you to make a strong
statement next Tuesday, April 25, supporting the Pain Relief
Promotion Act and urging Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott,
to move this important piece of legislation to the floor
of the Senate for a vote.
Not even one doctor in one state can be allowed by the federal
government to use his federal DEA license to prescribe lethal
drugs to kill its citizens without making the federal government
and all its representatives complicit in the killing. Already,
too many people have died. Already a woman diagnosed with
depression and a demented woman pressured by her family have
been given lethal prescriptions using federal DEA licenses.
Already profit sharing, fully capitated HMOs have provided
federally controlled substances for assisted suicides instead
of medical care. How many more must die before the federal
government acknowledges its responsibility to assure that
federally controlled substances are used for medical care,
not for killing its citizens? This is a federal issue.
I urge you to speak out clearly in favor of the Pain Relief
Promotion Act and to write to Senator Lott, letting him know
that this important piece of legislation must move quickly
to the floor of the Senate for a vote -- before more lives
April 25, 2000
Senator Smith Testifies in Support of the PRPA
Dear PCC member:
In testimony given this morning to the Senate Judiciary Committee
regarding the Pain Relief Promotion Act*, Oregon Senator
Gordon Smith chose principle over political expediency.
He did this despite the predictions of many pundits who
believed that he would join Senator Wyden in opposing this
Instead, Senator Smith showed his integrity by reaffirming
his long-standing commitment to protect all human life--including
the weak, the vulnerable, and the terminally ill. Some observers
reported that he actually wept as he clearly conveyed his
strong and unequivocal support for the Pain Relief Promotion
Act. His decision to support this important legislation came
in the face of intense pressure and lobbying from groups
promoting assisted suicide.
Please consider contacting Senator Smith (telephone: 202-224-3753;
fax: 202-228-3997) to support and affirm him for his well-considered
and courageous decision.
William L. Toffler MD
National Director, PCC
*The Pain Relief Promotion Act (PRPA) protects patients
and physicians and ensures that all patients in all states
will have access to appopriate pain relief measures. The
PRPA specifies that this protection will apply even if aggressive
use of pain medications is needed and even if an unintended
consequence of such pain relief were that death were hastened.
At the same time, the PRPA specifies that this protection
does not apply to the deliberate overdosing of patients with
the intent to cause death. Thus, the PRPA clarifies the confusion
caused by Janet Reno's decision to exclude Oregon from the
traditional oversight given to all states (and still given
to the 49 other states). Unfortunately Reno's confused interpretation
of the Controlled Substances Act has already resulted in
the deaths of over 40 (known) individuals in Oregon who have
had their lives ended by deliberate overdoses of controlled
substances--some even when they had never requested such "treatment." Support
for the PRPA includes the American Medical Association, many
pain management and hospice organizations as well as Physicians
for Compassionate Care. If you would like more information
about the PRPA, please contact the PCCEF office at 503-533-8154.