All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

6/11/2014

Right to Try

I've posted on legalizing pot, and at least conceptually, other recreational drugs.  I think that is an interesting social issue and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

There is another aspect of pharmacological freedom that doesn't get much press.  I suspect it is because there isn't a long line of aging hippies waiting to get on the band wagon.  Another reason may be that since there is no recreational potential for these drugs, no one is interested.  Pot's cheerleaders have always used medical marijuana as a stepping stone for legalizing recreational marijuana.

We've heard about the plight of terminally ill cancer patients who want to smoke pot to help with the chemo.  I've seen people go through chemo.  Despite the development of drugs like Nabilone, people want to smoke pot.  When you see how sick they are, its hard to come up with reasons not to let them.

A more pressing issue in pharmacological freedom is the use of experimental drugs.  Every year there are people dying of various maladies and there are companies trying to develop drugs to treat them.  In the US the FDA determines which companies, which products and which group of people (by reason of control group studies) will get to participate in which trials.

True pharmacological freedom isn't just letting people smoke pot, its letting any patient try any therapy they and their doctor think may benefit them.

Are there risks in pharmacological freedom?  Yes, of course.  The right to take those risks belong to the people whose lives will be affected by them.  If a person is sick and dying and there is a new drug in development that might help that person, why not let them and their doctor experiment with it?  The manufacture needs data from human trials to demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug.  The sick person wants to take a chance that might extend their life.  None of this is the FDA's business.

If we are going to let the terminally ill smoke pot to ease their suffering, we should let them try whatever experimental drug therapies they deem acceptable to extend their life too.

19 comments:

Giraffe said...

Agreed. Some people are just doomed. Why not let them take a chance on a drug. It may save them, or it may lead to a drug to save someone else.

Anonymous said...

This makes a lot more sense than legalizing pot. Why don't we hear more about this kind of legalization?

WaterBoy said...

"Another reason may be that since there is no recreational potential for these drugs, no one is interested. Pot's cheerleaders have always used medical marijuana as a stepping stone for legalizing recreational marijuana."

Yep...except Viagra. Definite recreational potential, there.

Although, there is a long line of aging hippies waiting to get on this bandwagon.

"Despite the development of drugs like Nabilone, people want to smoke pot. "

Not sure all the positive effects of those drugs are the same as pot (e.g., appetite stimulant in addition to pain relief and anti-nausea). It does have the benefit of not causing damage to lung tissues that smoking pot does, but then there is also edible pot to eliminate that effect.

"A more pressing issue in pharmacological freedom is the use of experimental drugs. Every year there are people dying of various maladies and there are companies trying to develop drugs to treat them. In the US the FDA determines which companies, which products and which group of people (by reason of control group studies) will get to participate in which trials.

True pharmacological freedom isn't just letting people smoke pot, its letting any patient try any therapy they and their doctor think may benefit them.
"


Fully agree.

Res Ipsa said...

Not sure all the positive effects of those drugs are the same as pot

As I understand it there are more than one pill that will give the same medical benefits as pot. They are derived from the marijuana plant but don't produce a high. There are herbal marijuana products that are low to no THC that are also available. I don't know how legal they are in all areas. The pharmaceutical ones are 100% legal.

Incidentally I'm OK with terminally ill people getting a little high. My rational for this POV comes from scripture. Pr31:6-7 to be exact.

We live in an age of rapid development in technology. Someone who is dying should have the right to take advantage of that technology even if it isn't proven. I think that the drug companies would be more than willing to trade the product in exchange for an opportunity to collect data.

I am opposed to them doing an undisclosed placebo study in these cases.

Outlaw X said...
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newrebeluniv said...

Another problem with experimental drugs is that if you get approval to try them, you have a 50% chance of getting a placebo instead. You can't have a double blind study without sacrificing half your patients. Sorry. Cost of doing business. I had a SIL who knew the doctor doing the research so she could make sure she was "randomly chosen" to get the real treatment and not the placebo. That's why she's alive today (and some other woman isn't)

Outlaw X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Outlaw X said...

Res

You asked me to let you know what I decided on Strong's Concordance. I picked the book because it is physical not digital, it can't be changed. I also have quite a few Physical Bibles and think everyone should. My top 4 in order of preference.

1) KJV 1611
2 Douay–Rheims (Catholic)
3) New American Bible (Catholic)
4)The Jerusalem Bible (Catholic)

Funny how this Catholic's favorite Bible is original KJV.

What Bibles do ya'll like?

Outlaw X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Res Ipsa said...

Outlaw,

You don't have anything to apologize for. I think it does a better job making the point when it people you know who are suffering.

You are 100% on the gateway drug BS. In your case they will give you a drug that is more powerful than smack but won't let you have a drug that is less potent because it might lead you to use the "hard stuff".

I didn't write the post specifically with you in mind. I've had several folks I know die from cancer. I've seen it up close. I wouldn't keep a single thing that might help, or ease their situation a bit from them.

You have a right to be pissed. I think you have a right to try whatever remedy you want to get better. I think in your case its biblical.

The bible I read the most is a New Revised Standard. I like the KJV too and I've been thinking about using it again to do memorization from. It has a poetic ring to it. The reason I use the NRS is because about 30 years ago I got a study Bible that had lots of notes comparing the various text translations. I like having that so I've kept it for all this time. When I wear out a bible I go back and buy the same one again just because its familiar and easy for me to find stuff it.

Res Ipsa said...

Outlaw,

You didn't need to take that down. You are entitled to say whatever you like here.

Outlaw X said...

Well you can put it back up if you like Res, I'll leave that to you.

JN said...

Want to know a great gateway drug?

Strawberry Hill. Great for the kiddos who haven't developed the taste for beer.

Res Ipsa said...

I would put it back, but it doesn't look like I can restore it. If someone knows how please let me know and I will.

Susan said...

Another issue that I have with your great post here is that because of the war on drugs the Feds are waging, they are cracking down on doctors who look like they might be over prescribing to terminal patients.

My FIL had to watch his own father die a painful death by bone cancer because the doctors were scared to death to give him more than the minimum dosage of pain killers. The Feds monitor those pain killers that doctors prescribe closely, so you had to have a darn good explanation to give to the Feds if they came after you.

That is how screwed up the so-called war on drugs has gotten.

Res Ipsa said...

I'd forgotten about the issue with the pain killers. We live in a screwed up world where doctors are encouraged to kill patients but where a terminally ill person can't get enough painkiller because they might abuse it somehow.

I realize that there are issues with drug ABUSE. I am aware that these can and do take place within a medical setting. However, people who are going to get hooked on drugs, are going to do that anyway. Far better to let a sick person a.) have something that might help them get cured, or b.) let them live their last days as comfortably as possible.

I am against physician assisted/promoted suicide. I am against involuntary third party orders that restrict care/food/water/meds. If the patient refuses those things, fine, that's their choice.

Letting a person have access to experimental medicine is great. Letting them have access to so called recreational drugs is OK. Letting them chose how much pain medicine they need/want in terminal cases is not just acceptable, its the ethical, humane, and even Biblical thing to do.

What is the worst thing that MIGHT happen with a terminally ill person smoking pot or self medicating on painkillers? They'll get a little high from the drug. Is that a problem? Seriously. A person facing the end of life gets a little relief from the stress, worry, and real physical suffering they are going through. Isn't that a good thing?

There is a POTENTIAL downside. They might get lung cancer from the pot. They might O.D. on the painkillers. Someone, a family member or medical staff might steal some of their stash and use it illegally. All of those things can and have happened. None of those things are a reason to keep a sick person from having what they need.

WaterBoy said...

Susan: "My FIL had to watch his own father die a painful death by bone cancer because the doctors were scared to death to give him more than the minimum dosage of pain killers."

My heart goes out to people in such situations, but it was exactly the opposite in our case.

When my FIL was on his deathbed (also from cancer), we contacted the local hospice agency who was very helpful in making sure he had enough pain medicine at home (oral morphine) to enable him to be as comfortable as possible. They came by once a day to see how he was doing and to leave more medicine if it was getting low.

They accounted for it, sure, and recorded how much was left over when he passed, before pouring it down the drain (apparently unused vials cannot be reallocated to another patient). But they weren't particularly stingy in doing so. Maybe because it was through the VA?

Res Ipsa said...

(apparently unused vials cannot be reallocated to another patient)

There is always the chance that the drug was adulterated once it left the control of the medical professionals. They won't give out any drugs, even aspirin if they can't prove a unbroken chain of custody. If a family gives the same pain killers to another family in the same situation, there is no medical liability to the care givers, but it is felony drug trafficking. It's in every ones (except the sick guy who might not be able to afford painkillers) best interest to throw away the unused meds.

WaterBoy said...

"It's in every ones (except the sick guy who might not be able to afford painkillers) best interest to throw away the unused meds."

Yes, that's an unfortunate but true statement...which also applies to food thrown out every day by restaurants and groceries across the country.

What a waste.