Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jan 2001
Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette (WI)
Copyright: 2001 Green Bay Press-Gazette
Contact:  P.O. Box 19430, Green Bay WI   54307-9430
Fax: (920) 431-8379


MADISON -- Regarding your Dec. 26 article, "Hospitals must now treat pain:" 
For the tens of millions of Americans suffering from acute and chronic 
pain, the new standards are a welcome development.

However, pain relief can be elusive. Last October, news articles reported a 
survey by the group, Partners Against Pain, found that 78 percent of 
patients surveyed find their over-the-counter and prescription painkillers 
so ineffective they are willing to try new treatments.

The medicinal use of marijuana offers patients another tool in fighting 
pain. In fact, many patients report that marijuana allows them to reduce or 
eliminate consumption of opiate painkillers, meaning they can moderate the 
side effects of these addictive medications and function better with an 
enhanced quality of life.

While the voters of eight states have now legalized access to marijuana for 
treating pain and other medical conditions, the federal government is 
effectively withholding medicine from the sick and dying by cruelly 
continuing to prohibit medical use under federal law.

If reducing the pain and suffering of patients is truly a goal, then 
federal authorities should immediately legalize access to this therapeutic 
option by rescheduling it so physicians can prescribe it.

Gary Storck 
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart