Pubdate: Tue, 09 Oct 2001
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2001 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Steve Helms


We hear about drug overdose deaths all the time but what we do not hear 
about are the deaths by underdose.

As fears about the abuse of a powerful and effective painkiller, oxycotin, 
spread across the nation, many states are restricting access to a drug that 
is a lifesaver to those in chronic pain.

And it is the legitimate users who suffer as a result. The same can be said 
of most narcotic pain relievers.

Just try to get a strong painkiller from your doctor for any type of 
chronic pain. Their fear of the Drug Enforcement Administration often 
prevents the adequate treatment of pain. Instead, our lawmakers like Sens. 
Kay Hutchison and Phil Gramm talk about "palliative" care only for the 
terminally ill - care that can only be administered in a hospital.

Personally, I have no desire to spend my life savings on medical bills or 
to die in a hospital. When the pain becomes too great and can no longer be 
controlled by prescriptions my doctor will not provide, I will find a way 
to quickly and permanently end the pain. I doubt that my death will be 
ruled as a drug underdose.

Steve Helms, Southlake
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