Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jan 2002
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Authors: Larry Nickerson and Jerry Epstein


Pain can alter perception The Chronicle's Jan. 21 editorial, "Afghan 
Opium," said that opium and its offspring morphine and heroin are the 
"enemies of civilization just as al-Qaida and terrorists are." In my own 
experience, during two periods of time, I have had significant amounts of 
morphine and surely it was a blessing for me. The first time was during a 
week of recovery from

an emergency appendectomy and the second was during several days recovering 
from back surgery.

Whoever thinks morphine is an enemy of civilization should consider 
foregoing this drug the next time they find themselves hooked up to a 
monitor with a self-actuated release button. This is likely to bring about 
a change of perspective when pain begins to bring about a better understanding.

In other countries, heroin is a legal medicine and mainly differs from 
morphine in that it is twice as strong.

Larry Nickerson, Houston

Can't stop supply, demand The Chronicle's editorial on Afghan heroin 
displayed a lack of understanding on the futility of trying to stop supply 
and only generates more street drugs due to the inevitable economic 
conditions created by prohibition.

Congress cannot repeal the power of the free market or the laws of supply 
and demand any more than it can repeal the law of gravity. The editorial 
stated that drugs, such as heroin, could "take years to destroy people and 
their families, but they just as surely cause a terrible toll on any 
nation's human and economic resources."

Although some people may abuse opium-based drugs to their detriment, it is 
the imposition of prohibition that multiplies the social costs. In general, 
a heroin addict behaves much better than an alcohol addict under equal 
conditions. In the United States, there are 15 alcohol addicts for every 
heroin addict.

Jerry Epstein, president, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Houston
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