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September 2, 2000

Urgent Call for Letters Supporting PRPA

PCC URGENTLY needs you to write to your U.S. Senators letters favoring the Nickles/Lieberman Pain Relief Promotion Act and opposing any filibuster attempt to block a vote. A sample letter follows at the end of this note.

We expect the Pain Relief Promotion Act to be voted on September 15 and 18. The major lobbying will take place the first week of September. So we need your immediate action to send letters today. Even if you have sent a letter previously, now is the time to write again -- and fax and call and email. You may copy the sample letter onto your letterhead if you wish, add your own points, or write your own, of course. The important thing is to get something in the mail today.

The mailing address for all senators is:

Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

You can amplify your impact many fold by writing a third, "Dear Senator," letter and faxing it to Gene Tarne at 703-684-5813. He will package your letter with others into a booklet to be given to all Senators.

The Senators' phone, fax, and email addresses can be found at http://www.senate.gov/senators/index.cfm. You can also call 202-224-3121 to be transferred to a Senator's office.

In the following sample letter, those of you who are not physicians or are associate members or friends of PCC, you can, of course, substitute your own professional affiliation or delete the phrase "As a physician..." altogether. Your help is needed just as much.

SAMPLE LETTER

RE: Support for Pain Relief Promotion Act (HR 2260) and against filibuster

Dear Senator (Name):

As a physician, I urge you to vote for the Nickles/Lieberman Pain Relief Promotion Act (PRPA) and also for cloture to stop any filibuster attempt.

The Nickles/Lieberman bill will enhance needed education about pain treatment and palliative care by authorizing $5,000,000 per year in educational grants. It will protect doctors and patients by clarifying in law for the first time that aggressive pain management can be appropriate medical care even if in rare instances it might increase the likelihood of a patient's death. Claims that the PRPA might have a so-called "chilling effect" on prescription of pain medicine are entirely spurious. DEA data shows that per capita prescription of morphine has increased dramatically when states have passed similar laws. There is no states rights issue here. No state can unilaterally rewrite federal law disallowing the use of dangerous federally controlled substances to kill members of one stigmatized group, the seriously ill, any more than one state could rewrite federal law disallowing racial discrimination.

The PRPA, sponsored in the Senate by both Senators Nickles and Lieberman, has bipartisan support. It is strongly backed by the American Medical Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, American Academy of Pain Management, Pain Care Coalition, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Physicians for Compassionate Care, Hospice Association of America, and other leading medical groups. Any attempt at filibuster to stifle legitimate debate and a chance to vote into law this important piece of national legislation should not be tolerated. I urge you to vote for the Nickles/Lieberman Pain Relief Promotion Act and against filibuster or any other attempt to block its coming to a vote.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

Thank you for your help with this important cause,

N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D.
William Toffler, M.D.


© Copyright 2000
Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation