Pain and Relief
I am really disappointed that reason chose to publish Melinda Ammann's "The Agony and the Ecstasy" (April), an intellectually and morally challenged article on OxyContin. Please understand that I strongly favor elimination of most drug laws. I would welcome the over-the-counter sale of laudanum. I think heroin and opium should be made readily available to hospitalized patients, and that heroin in particular should be generously administered to the terminally ill. Society has little to fear from a bed-ridden, terminally ill addict.
If people choose to ingest opium, heroin, cocaine, crack, marijuana, or any of the dozens of uppers, downers, and hallucinogens in common use, let them. Put a warning label on the drugs. Sell them cheap. Take the money out of drug distribution. If some people, even millions, suffer and die, they have themselves to blame.
But so long as drugs are illegal, and so long as the vast majority of reputable, decent doctors choose to abide by the law, it seems to me to be unconscionable and unreasonable to validate or excuse the behavior of an avaricious handful who profit mightily by cheating. To portray these creeps as humanitarian heroes is just beyond the pale.
Ammann may think she understands them; she may believe their professed motives. I too think I understand them, and I think they are quacks, hacks, and lying charlatans motivated solely by greed. Lacking real evidence to the contrary (as opposed to a handful of anecdotes), reason should apologize to its readers.
As one of the sources for "The Agony and the Ecstacy," I wanted to thank you for a wonderful, objective article. I hope that Melinda Ammann's message reaches far and wide and finally gets our pleas for help heard by those in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Congress. I hope that it will help ease the concerns of the few brave doctors we have left to treat our pain.
I plan to forward Ammann's article to many of my fellow chronic pain sufferers so they may show it to their loved ones and their treating physicians to get the word out to everyone. Thank you so much for shedding some light on our fight for proper pain management and treatment. God bless you!
Thank you for the balanced reporting in "The Agony and the Ecstasy". My husband died of pancreatic cancer, a horribly painful malady. His doctors at a major teaching hospital refused to prescribe adequate pain medication because they were fearful of the DEA. Fortunately, he was ultimately able to find a doctor who was willing to prescribe OxyContin so that he could live his remaining days in comfort and coherence. The OxyContin crackdown has been a great tragedy for millions of people suffering pain.
Kathryn A. Weiner
American Academy of Pain Management
Boob Tube Power
In "Lust-See TV" (April), Nick Gillespie claims there is no relation between TV and the action of young people. I hear his argument every time I go complain to the station manager: TV can't affect behavior; it's simply entertainment.
Yet when I stop in at the station's marketing department, the story changes. There I'm assured that my TV advertising dollars will move teenage behavior in any direction desired.
I actively parented my five through those years and watched the impact of TV. There is no coursework in human behavior equivalent to guiding a bunch of your own. Perhaps therein lies the disconnect. America's small intelligentsia has decided they no longer want large families. How sad. There's nothing quite like reality training to improve understanding.