Dr. Tennant has devoted his life in the service of others. He is not only one of the world’s foremost experts on Chronic and Intractable Pain but he has been Mayor of West Covina and is a local Californian Historian who owns and operates the West Covina History Museum next door to his medical practice.
His political legacy has been impressive and impactful. He created and championed the Pain Patient’s Bill of Rights into law; he has been an expert witness multiple times for and given testimony in front of Congress when they have needed an expert on Chronic and Intractable Pain. Heroically, he created a life saving protocol for soldiers on the front lines of war. Dr. Tennant taught them how to self administer and administer to the wounded soldiers who were too far from medics for immediate care. This not only saved countless lives but early administration of pain medications reduces shock&trauma allowing soldiers to stay alive and able to receive further care. The long term affect of his early Pain Intervention Protocol reduced a subsequent history of chronic pain. Forest Tennant, MD is a hero of US Military. He was continually invited to speak and give information to Walter Reed Hospital and the VA in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tennant spent much of his life devoted to medical research and compassionately caring for the most complex pain patients in the country. He just closed his practice which leaves many patients out of quality care and no longer able to access the medications that improve their quality of life. Without adequate pain medication, our pain will become totally debilitating again and we will struggle to maintain relationships and loose our ability to pursue meaningful life work. Our days will be spent being bed ridden and house bound because we will be totally debilitated by pain, The excessive pain will cause extra stress on our brains and hearts, thus dramatically shortening our life expectancy. Under a new federal law, there are patients who have already lost access to their medications because they live in a different state than the prescribing physician. Intractable Pain Disease is usually deadly when it is not treated or is under treated. For us, opioid prescriptions very literally help to keep us alive by keeping our pain low.
The DEA filed a warrant against Forest Tenant, MD, along with at least one other Doctor and United Pharmacy in Beverly Hills. The main crimes that were alleged were, in part, that the accused were running a Drug Trafficking Ring and writing false prescriptions. The DEA served a search warrant the morning that Dr Tennant and his wife were arriving back home after he gave expert testimony supporting a Dr who was being accused of over prescribing and causing a patient’s death. It was no coincidence, that the DEA went to his home to serve the warrant when they did. His testimony has always been of the highest expert caliber and puts holes in the DEA’s agenda. DEA agents broke down the front door of his house and later went to his office. They seized everything, including every single one of his patients medical records. We, then, had to request a copy of our medical records from the DEA. They accused us, his patients of being a part of this alleged drug trafficking operation. They said we were obtaining large amounts of opioid medications in order to sell for profit, of which we were giving some of our drug money to Dr. Tennant for prescribing them to us. So, we had to give written statements that we were NOT selling our medications and that we needed them out of medical necessity.
It was a terrifying time for me, personally, because I was 1 out of the 5 patients of Dr. Tennant’s who were getting my prescriptions filled at the pharmacy which was also under the same investigation, as stated, in the search warrant. I was terrified about the DEA coming to search my apartment, looking for evidence of being a part of a drug trafficking operation. It was insane, mind blowing and hard to believe was actually happening. Fortunately, they were not out for us and that never happened. Although, I knew I truly, really had nothing to fear if they did come with a search warrant because I had nothing to hide.
By the end of January, it was clear to the head investigator from the DEA, that Dr. Tennant had done nothing illegal. In fact, he had been informed by his lawyer, that he could continue to keep his practice open and would be released from the investigation any day. Then, the DEA decided to change the lead investigator from someone with a Medical background to someone who has a purely law enforcement background. They wanted to force Dr. Tennant to close his medical practice. So, the DEA refused to drop charges against him even after it was clear, he had done nothing wrong. In fact, he had never even lost a patient due to an overdose while under his care which is usually a mitigating factor in these types of cases.
The DEA should actually hire Dr. Tennant to formulate guidelines for all Doctors who treat pain and prescribe narcotic pain medications. Dr. Tennant had the most strict standards and protocols in place to ensure the safety of his patients. He, also, found ways to make sure that he was not treating any patient who did not have a legitimate medical necessity for high dose opioid prescriptions. His protocols ensured that it would become very clear, very quickly if anyone who was abusing their medications and /or who were in the habit of what is known as “Doctor Shopping”. These patients would be terminated from his clinic immediately. In fact, he had contracts for all new patients to sign and monthly signature were required, stating we understood the clinic’s guidelines, rules and protocols; also, we understood the rules and were continuing to following them without a problem. We had to have proof of a support system and bring family members or other care givers to give feedback as to any negative side effects or if they were noticing any signs of the patient abusing their prescriptions. He enforced a dress code that got more strict as time went on because he knew that Pain Management Doctors and clinics were under an enormous amount of scrutiny.
Among, the reasons why the DEA should turn to him fo his expertise, Dr. Tennant’s tireless devotion to research is at the top. He was totally devoted to researching the causes of and treatments for, Intractable Pain Disease. He was constantly implementing comprehensive treatment plans for his patients that included various medications, hormones and supplements to act as either a potentiator to maximize the efficacy of the opioids and some that worked independently, targeting a variety of issues, separately from the patient’s opioid medications. His research enabled the majority of his patients to reduce their opioid pain medications by a whopping 80%! That is HUGE! Still, most of his patients take what is considered to be a “high dose” opioid regimen. The CDC has listed the average recommended daily dose of opioid pain medication. However, this is only a guideline and it is a guideline for basic pain after an injury or surgery and for standard chronic pain patients. The CDC does not have guidelines for patients with Intractable Pain Disease caused from Metastatic Cancer or Intractable Pain Disease caused by either Systemic CRPS or Arachnoiditis. Ellhors Danos Syndrome or a Traumatic Brain Injury. Yet, the Federal and State Government has started to write laws that use one basic guideline for the most complicated, painful, life threatening and debilitating medical conditions possible. To top it off, most patients that need a higher dose of pain medications need that because they have a certain liver enzyme that causes their body to metabolize their pain medication at a faster rate than someone without this enzyme. Thus, the patient with this enzyme, will need a higher quantity of pills because they will need to take it more often than the person without this enzyme. It makes opioids less effective overall and thus, a higher strength of medication is also usually needed.
Yet, again, the guidelines that the CDC created do not account for patients with this enzyme. This is, again, why these are merely basic guidelines and not prescribing guides for every single patient. It is up to a Medical Doctor to assess every patient individually by looking at their medical history, doing a comprehensive diagnostic work-up, including a blood test for this enzyme and blood tests to look at inflammatory markers, hormones and more. Yet, most Dr’s only do a basic physical exam. Again, the DEA should look to Dr. Tennant for guidelines because, through his research, he has actually figured out tests for patients with Intractable Pain Disease.
The protocols Dr. Tennant created that have so drastically helped his patients reduce their narcotic medications by, on average, 80%, is something to learn from not something to be ignored as the DEA continues to do. Tennant’s patients are among the most complicated in the country. All of his patients have at least 2 medical diagnosis of the most painful, debilitating pain disorders known and many, like me, have more than 2 of the world’s most painful medical diagnosis. Not only is the pain itself at the top of the McGill pain scale but, we all have Intractable Pain Disease, which has a very complicated neuro-endocrine component, causing severe hormonal imbalances as well as an extremely rare auto-immune component. This, along with the most excrutiating pain imaginable, makes Intractable Pain a life threatening disease.
Because of his expertise, Dr. Tennant sees the most complicated pain patients in the country. His patients have tried all the interventional pain treatments (i.e. nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulators, steroidal epidurals) and failed. For me, the traditional interventional methods made me even more sick and after a series of 1x/week steroid epidural for 3 weeks, made my Systemic CRPS II, so much worse that I could no longer walk. I was wheelchair bound, loving with a commode in my bedroom. At the time, I wasn’t even 30 years old. Forest Tennant MD, has literally saved countless lives. Also, even more than that, he has improved the quality of life for every single patient he sees. He cares about and respects each person, deeply, and this makes a huge difference for a group of people deeply stigmatized by the myths perpetuated by the media surrounding the opioid epidemic. For his patients, he is a life saver and a quality of life improver… to us and to our family members, this makes him a hero.
Dr. Tennant has not, nor ever will be, charged with anything because he has done absolutely nothing wrong. However, the DEA knows that if they can get him to close his practice, it will send a clear message to all Dr’s treating legitimate pain patients with prescription narcotics. The goal of this administration is to ban opioids altogether and they are getting closer every day. Many of his patients have already lost access to the prescriptions that Dr. Tennant prescribed to help them until they find a local Dr take over their medical care. These are life saving, quality of life giving, medically necessary pain medications that the Federal Government is totally focused on destroying patient access to. This is an outrageous perpetuation of ever increasing governmental overreach that is plunging our country further into an ethical and moral breach of human rights that is actually, currently considered a humanitarian crisis by the UN and governmental watch dog groups.
This is an injustice that has been done to Forest Tennant, MD. His contributions to science will far outlive the mass hysteria surrounding this so called “opioid epidemic”. He saved countless lives while the DEA has sentenced many of the patients he saved, to death.