Pubdate: Mon, 09 Aug 2004
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Barry D. Ulmer


Oxycontin A Valuable Tool

Re: "Drug ban would hurt pain sufferers," Letters, Aug. 6.

Thank you Dr. Rashiq for speaking up on behalf of people in pain.

I find it extremely sad that in the 21st century reporters seek to
demonize medications simply because they fail to find all the facts.
By doing so they simply sentence many people to lives of agony.

Oxycontin is a valuable tool to those practitioners who are brave
enough to work in the much maligned area of pain. Is it a panacea to
those suffering with pain? Of course not, but it can be, and is for
many, an important part of treatment that allows them some quality of

Is addiction a problem in society? Yes, it is, but most abusers are
just that and should be treated for their disease. There is plenty of
evidence, as Dr. Rashiq points out, that when medication is used as it
is meant to be, the chance of addiction is very low.

The original article tried to demonize Oxycontin by relating it to 250
deaths in Ontario. The simple fact is there is no official database of
"Oxycontin-related deaths" in Canada, so this figure is wrong.

This is the same tactic used by the Orlando Sentinel, which recently
printed a correction to its atrocious report about Oxycontin. When
they actually did some reporting, they found they were in egregious
error. Almost every overdose death involved multi-drug use (most
illegal), and most overdose deaths should not have been attributed to
Oxycontin. They apologized.

It is well known that chronic pain is undertreated in our society.
There is very little formal education in our teaching facilities on
pain, so please do not make the lives of those who already suffer in
agony even more difficult through the lack of good reporting.

Barry D. Ulmer

Executive Director, Chronic Pain Association of Canada

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