Pubdate: Wed, 11 Nov 1998
Date: 11/11/1998
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Author: Christopher Largen

During the past six years I have been employed in human services
related to physical and developmental disabilities.

I worked with a disabled veteran who had been shot, and was
quadriplegic. He required assistance with virtually all of his needs,
and I was his home attendant.

He suffered from back spasms, the direct result of physical therapy
for atrophied muscles and retracted tendons. I witnessed his body
convulse as he cried out in agony.

He had participated in a wide spectrum of traditional and alternative
treatments to remedy his pain, including painkillers, muscle relaxers
and acupressure. These were futile and costly.

One day his physician, after expressing regret that it was illegal,
suggested smoking marijuana as an analgesic.

The results were impressive, as he completed his physical therapy
without spasms.

I do not advocate misuse of any substance, but I support further
research of marijuana.

I also support the decriminalization of use by citizens diagnosed with
terminal, chronic, or disabling diseases like cancer or AIDS. It does
not serve justice to deny suffering patients access to quality care.