WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- An embattled pain clinic owner says he is closing his clinic next week.
Dr. Alen Salerian is determined to close its doors although he awaits judgement from two city administrative bodies on his appeal of a city mandate that stopped him from prescribing Class Two Narcotics pain killers.
"I feel that I am surrendering now, at least for the time being, and shutting down my practice because I have no choice," Dr. Salerian said. "I am bankrupt and I am broke, and the environment in which I am trying to practice is very hostile and is very negative."
He added, "trust is essential for a doctor to practice and there are a lot of doubts about who I am and what I am. Until the city decides or other authorities declare me innocent, I feel as though I have no choice but to surrender."
Salerian, a former high-ranking psychiatrist at the FBI, has published widely his work studying the effect of pain on the brian.
He believes pain causes actual, physical, brain damage, and prescribes pain killers more frequently than is the medical norm.
"It is not my theory. It is the theory established by neuroscience that people with pain and psychiatric disorders actually suffer brain damage, and when there is brain damage, it is destructive," Salerian said in his Wisconsin Avenue office. "There is premature aging and death. It is as dangerous as having high blood pressure and cholesterol and so pain patients and psychiatric patients must receive adequate and aggressive treatment in my view."
The DC Health Department believes he provided pain medication too frequently and moved to suspend his prescription rights in April. His appeal is pending.
"I do not think it is me. I think this is all about science, and pain patients and psychiatric patients. In our community we discriminate against people with pain and psychiatric problems. I am a defender of the weak. I am a defender of people with pain and psychiatric disorders. I do not think I am a target. My poor patients are," Salerian said.
He believes there is an irrational fear of drugs to fight pain.
"It is very unfortunate. People with mental disabilities are in pain. I say let doctors decide what healing is all about.
"I want to hear the evidence. I want to hear it from scholars and others based upon neuroscientific evidence that what I'm doing is wrong," he said.
His patients have had difficulty getting other doctors to provide the medication they have come to rely upon. Six patients have died since Salerian's prescription rights were suspended, three of those patients, he says, from suicide.
"There is a shortage of pain doctors everywhere, especially in the South, in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, even in Washington, DC. There is a true shortage of pain doctors."
Advised that WUSA9 was airing this story Wednesday evening, a press representative of the DC government did not fulfill a pledge to provide a response.