Source: The Dominion (New Zealand)
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Jul 1998


Your story on women taking part in trials of the sex drug Viagra (21 July)
contained a warning from Liverpudlian urologist Derek Machin: "Viagra could
quickly become a drug of abuse - used by men and women with normal sexual
function to enhance their sex lives."  Oh dear!  We certainly wouldn't want
people going around enhancing their sex lives, would we?

Assuming he was quoted correctly, Mr Machin appears to share the
all-too-common attitude that all drug use outside of doctors' orders
constitutes abuse.  On the contrary, informed adults have always used drugs
of various kinds to enhance their lives, whether to ward off illness or
simply to feel better.  Only in the past several decades has this practice
come to be viewed as abusive, and then mostly by certain moralisers and
wowsers--who, unfortunately, tend to climb to positions of power.

Good information and personal responsibility are the keys to minimising
drug-related harm--the cornerstone of Government's newly released drug
strategy.  But at the same time, let's be grown-up enough to admit that
responsible drug use can and often does enhance our lives--including our
sex lives.

[On the other hand, any drug can be abused.  No doubt, for example, we'll
soon be hearing about "Viagra-dependence syndrome", in reference to the
increasing numbers of men who will become utterly unable to function
sexually without prior fortification with Viagra--or one of its
increasingly sophisticated (and perfectly legal) progeny.  Education (not
legal sanctions, needless to say) is key to minimising this problem.]

David Hadorn

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Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)