|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
|Grey Literature - DPF: Drug Policy Letter spring 1995|
|Written by Drug Policy Foundation|
|Saturday, 22 April 1995 00:00|
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
THOU SHALT LEAVE ALONE
I agree with much ofArnold Trebach's editorial in the Winter 1995 issue ["There Ought To Be a Law"] . We do need a legal environment that 'provides some protection ... for physicians who prescribe painkillers for chronic pain...."
I cannot, however, go along with Trebach's endorsement of [California Governor] Pete Wilson's declaration that there should be "a positive legal duty for physicians to relieve pain." It maybe necessary to encourage doctors to be less conservative in their practices, but the last thing we need is yet more heavy-handed intervention from government.
In the context of informed consent, only patients and their physicians should be involved in the decision to use morphine for pain, or THC for nausea. It would be no more right for government to tell doctors "Thou shalt prescribe morphine" than it now is for them to say "Thou shalt not...."
Brian A. Christeson Alexandria, New Hampshire
The current issue of the Drug Policy Letter, Number 25, seems to me an exceptional statement — it is so well done that I've read it from cover to cover, something I do only with the New Yorker (and not every issue of that). The special report, "The Year in Drugs," is a knockout; the writing, pacing, choice of subjects, layout, and photos all make for a witty and stimulating account. It's a readable page-turner — as near to "enter-taining" as I think you ought to get, given the grim subject matter —rather than an emotionally manipulative documentation of threatening disaster. Congratulations!
Enid K. Dillon San Francisco
I received a copy of the Winter 1995 issue in response to a letter I sent. While I found the graphics and layout to be pleasant and tastefully done, most of the articles were too shallow to guide me in my own grassroots organizing of lobbying for policy reform. I also felt that the flippant tone used throughout could easily be misconstrued by a politically "mainstream" reader as indifferent to real problems related to the destructive misuse of controlled substances. Perhaps these deficiencies are not typical of the newsletter and result from the Winter issue's being a special "Year in Drugs" edition.
Dale Myers Federal Prison Camp Terre Haute, Indiana
In her 1984 book The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman describes tellingly the recurring pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. She writes:
"Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs...."
Tuchman illustrates these concepts with the follies of the Trojans taking the wooden horse within their walls; the renaissance popes provoking the Protestant secession; the British under George III losing America; and America betraying herselfin Vietnam.
Had she written her book a decade later, she surely would have included America's tying herself in knots in her war on drugs.
Robert B. Stone, M.D. Yountville, California