Note: I submitted this to the New York Times last week.
Gov. Peter Shumlin’s editorial is typical of the hysteria that has fueled the War on Drugs for two generations – the same hysteria that leads to aggressive paramilitary police tactics such as dropping a flash bang grenade into an 18 month old baby’s crib and maiming him for life.
First, Gov. Shumlin claims are false, and therefore should have not been printed by the New York Times. Pediatricians already have the authority to prescribe OxyContin to children in severe pain. The FDA decision did not “legalize” the practice. What the FDA actually did was provide guidelines for the use of the drug. Whether Gov. Shumlin was uninformed or dishonest, he has proven himself to be unfit for office by spreading falsehoods.
Furthermore, describing opioid painkillers as “poison” is unnecessary hyperbole that is unworthy of the nation’s newspaper of record, much less one of the nation’s 50 governors. Opioid painkillers are not poison. Someone can poison himself by abusing them, but the drug itself can be invaluable to people suffering severe pain.
I know if (God forbid) my young sons were in severe pain, I would want all options on the table, while carefully considering the benefits and risks of those options. As a father, I should have that choice.
Instead of listening to the fearmongering of bloviating politicians like Gov. Shumlin, Americans should trust the pediatricians who are treating children that may need powerful pain relief. Let the doctors practice medicine, and the meddling politicians need to mind their own business.