Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jun 2003
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Gerald M. Sutliff


Re: "Families' complaints led to raid on clinic," June 13.

You report that District Attorney Bill Hill said that publicity from the 
raid has generated several calls to his office from people complaining that 
their family members became dependent on painkillers prescribed by Dr. 
Maynard. I want to know how someone who is subject to severe protracted 
constant pain could not become "addicted" if the prescribed substance was 
effective in relieving the pain.

Recently, I was given a prescription for Tylenol with codeine for agonizing 
pain caused by a herniated disk. After a few days, my body healed 
sufficiently to stop taking the prescription, however, until the healing 
took place, I could very easily describe myself as "addicted" - I couldn't 
stop using.

Any number of professional football players couldn't play without 
painkillers due to previous injuries. Does taking the albeit prescribed 
painkillers so they can practice their profession mean they are addicted? 
Both pain and addiction are judgment calls and experience of pain is 
subjective. The Texas Department of Public Safety has the mandate and duty 
to make such calls, nevertheless, who can say with certainty that they're 
always correct?

My daughter died seeking relief from pain. She couldn't find a doctor who 
wasn't afraid to prescribe the kind of medication she believed she needed.

Gerald M. Sutliff, Castro Valley, Calif.
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