Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 1998 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Suzanne Wills, State Treasurer, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Dallas


In Sunday's article about the North Texas chapter of the Drug Policy Forum
of Texas, agent John Lunt of the Drug Enforcement Administration asked, "Is
there responsible use of heroin?" There certainly is.

Heroin is a modified version of morphine developed by the Bayer Co. in 1898.
They were trying to develop a "heroic" pain reliever, and they did. Heroin
is still the best pain reliever in the world, although U.S. law denies it to
anyone in a medical setting, even amputees in chronic agony and the dying.

Patients who use heroin or any opiate for pain generally don't get high or
become addicted. The opiates just control the pain and cancel the fear that
accompanies ongoing agony.

The war on drugs has come down hard on physicians. In 1995, more than 120
physicians who were prescribing narcotics for pain had their licenses
revoked or suspended. In a recent national survey, 75 percent of health-care
professionals said they believe they undertreat pain in dying patients. One
of the most frequently mentioned reasons was a fear of legal liability.

Prohibition has not kept heroin from eighth-graders, but it has kept heroin
and adequate doses of other opiates from helpless, suffering patients under
medical supervision.

- ---
Checked-by: Don Beck