WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) --- The D.C. Department of Health has informed Washington psychiatrist Alen Salerian that he can no longer write prescriptions for Class Two narcotics, preventing him from prescribing the pain medication many of his patients say they need to be able to function.
Salerian is the founder of the Salerian Center for Neuroscience and Pain on upper Wisconsin Avenue here and was informed of the decision earlier this month. He has sued the city to overturn the decision but that legal process could take months.
The city government refused to discuss the case with 9News Now, instead issuing a statement saying only "... the Department of Health took action in the best interests of all parties involved, and for now, the legal process has to run its course."
Salerian has been told ny his attorney not to discuss the case, but apparently believes the city has concluded he has written too many pain prescriptions.
Less than a day and a half before receiving the notice from the DC Department of Health, Salerian received a three year extension of his privileges by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Some of his patients have run out of their medications, and are in distress.
"I suffer from pain to the point that sometimes I can't even stand to have the shirt to be on my back, it hurts so bad.
"In the three years I have been seeing Dr. Salerian I have been able to be a mother to my child again and live and work, because I was on social security until I found him, and now I am working again," said Vanessa Mullins, who works with Salerian in a pain advocacy group.
Without the medication, she fears the days ahead.
"With me, I'm not going to be able to work again. I'm not going to be able to finish. I'm going to have to go back on social security. I'm going to be poor again. I'm not going to be able to support my daughter the way I need to be. I'm not going to be able to be a mother the way I need to be," Mullins told 9News Now.
"This is the most caring man that I have ever met in my life. He truly, truly cares about his patients," she said.
Wheaton native Scott Dixon works at a Gaithersburg packaging company now that he is on medication, something he said he was unable to do prior to Salerian's treatments. He could, he said, do little at all.
"Nothing. Lay in bed and worry about when the next sharp knife pain is going to come to my lower back, and there is no describing it. It will bring tears to a grown man's eye, can't even get up to go to the bathroom for fear of pain, maybe urinating in a Sprite bottle for fear of feeling that pain. It's absolutely debilitating," he said.
He remembers his feelings after Salerian prescribed medication that allowed him to function.
"Work! Yuh. I won't be poor. I won't lose my house. I won't lose my car. I'm able to go to the store and get out in the sunshine. I'm able to just take care of myself like everybody else does," he said.
He, too, fears what is ahead.
"It's almost not worth living. I don't want to go back to the way it was before i met Dr. Salerian. I hope I don't have to," Dixon told 9News Now.
Capitol Hill resident Reco Coates says he still has five bullets in his head from an armed robbery 30 years ago, and says he has had much of his back removed because of that assault.
After consulting Salerian, Coates said " I got some type of quality of life. I got a friend," he said.
"And before, I feel like I didn't even have a life, I've had so much trauma," he said.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I really don't. I don't know, and I'm scared for the first time in my life," he said.
These patients said that going to another doctor will not likely be of any help to them. They believe others doctors won't write the prescriptions they say they need because of fear that the government will revoke their prescription rights, as well.
Salerian's case is scheduled for adjudication later this year.