Pubdate: Mon, 01 Dec 2003
Source: Tennessean, The (TN)
Copyright: 2003 The Tennessean
Author: Chastity Mitchell


To the Editor:

I am writing in response to two columns, ''Pains of OxyContin'' and ''Man's 
backache lands him in detox,'' published Nov. 23.

While cases of misuse have taken the forefront of recent media coverage, 
I'd like to point out that appropriate pain management does not result in 
addiction. Each year, thousands of cancer patients benefit from medical 
advances that include the development of pain medications like OxyContin.

Unfortunately, the only stories we seem to hear about OxyContin feature its 
abuse. Ms. Bloodworth's column fails to cite any of the thousands of cases 
where OxyContin has dramatically improved the quality of life for 
late-stage cancer patients. Does she know how important these pain 
medications can be to a majority of cancer patients?

I agree that controls are necessary to eliminate abuse, but not at the 
expense of the patients who desperately need them for legitimate medical 
uses. For cancer sufferers, pain does not have to be part of the treatment 
process. In fact, when pain is adequately controlled, the patient and 
provider can dedicate more energy to fighting the disease.

Effective pain management is essential for cancer patients. The American 
Cancer Society supports efforts to improve the awareness of and education 
about the inadequate treatment of cancer pain.

I hope that as steps are taken to curb misuse, we do not lose sight of 
severe pain sufferers, those who use drugs like OxyContin to get through 
the day.

Chastity Mitchell

American Cancer Society

Nashville 37203 
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