OLNEY, MD (WUSA) ---Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Kristy Arthur was not pleased when she saw a WUSA-9 story about DC pain clinic Dr. Alen Salerian. He is the former chief psychiatrist at the FBI who is now embroiled in a fight with the DC government over his practice of prescribing pain medication in more than conventional amounts.
The WUSA-9 story quoted Salerian and his belief that pain causes actual physical damage to the brain as the basis for his decision to prescribe larger amounts of narcotics than other doctors.
"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. 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," Salerian said.
The story quoted a patient who is unable to get medication in equal amounts elsewhere since Salerian's rights to write prescriptions were limited by the DC Health Department.
Arthur did not like what she saw.
"Never should a client be bound to one professional because of their particular practices, especially when those practices are outside of best practices of medicine. And, so, other medical providers were unable to follow his practices because the degree to which he was prescribing narcotics was unsafe and it was enabling and perpetuating addiction," she said.
"CriticAddiction creates a number of problems in terms of peoples' ability to function, pain or no pain. Addiction is an all-consuming disease which impairs relationships, often leads to unemployment, problems with jobs, financial issues, a number of things but, in addition to that, the long term use of narcotics and drugs also creates changes in the brain that are damaging," Arthur said.
WUSA-9 reached Dr. Salerian Friday evening and read him Arthur's remarks. He said he agrees with Arthur that addiction is harmful and says he is very aware of that.
"I am opposed to giving people with addiction treatment with narcotics," he says.
"But there is a way of dealing with the problems of addiction without depriving people with chronic pain of their necessary treatment," he added.
His fight with the DC government over his prescription practices has, he says, left him broke. He closes his practice next week.