- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2003

Shut down U.S. organizations with terrorist ties

Thank you for your outstanding, informative reporting and most recently yesterday’s Page One article on the Saudi-based organization Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (“Oregon group thrives despite al Qaeda ties”), which is still operating in Oregon.

These kinds of organizations can no longer be tolerated by Americans. It is gratifying to know that the offices of this organization in Somalia and Bosnia have been shut down upon our government’s demand, but it is an outrage that they have not been shut down in our own beloved country.

I am outraged that it appears that the almighty dollar also controls our borders, and that Democrats and Republicans alike seem to be willing to risk our national security for the sake of votes and/or any other excuse given for the ongoing admission of illegal aliens. My dad and his family came to this country as immigrants when he was 12 years old, and I am grateful that our doors were open to them. Immigration is not the issue. What is at stake is whether this nation will have the fortitude to abide by the rule of law or descend to anarchy. “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” is an adage that should be uppermost in all our minds today, especially in light of September 11. I, for one, am tired of sitting back and doing nothing while I watch this country be overrun by lawlessness and greed. It is time to take a stand and at least be heard.



KATHLEEN M. LENAU

Dumfries, Va.

In defense of OxyContin

The article by Guy Taylor regarding the abuse of OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride controlled-release) tablets (“OxyContin a scourge for users in rural areas,” Page 1, Sept. 2) is a disservice to thousands of health-care professionals and millions of patients who suffer from persistent moderate to severe pain.

It demonizes a Food and Drug Administration-approved medication without ever describing the overwhelming proper use and enormous value of the medication. Furthermore, it provides the reader with little insight into the real nature of the nation’s prescription drug abuse problem, which has been particularly severe in the more rural areas of Appalachia long before OxyContin was ever introduced.

The article cites reports claiming that abuse of OxyContin has killed hundreds. However, a peer-reviewed, published study of medical examiners’ reports has demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of drug overdose deaths blamed on OxyContin were in fact due to abuse of multiple substances (see Journal of Analytical Toxicology, February 2003).

OxyContin is a Schedule II controlled substance with an abuse liability similar to morphine. The medication’s active ingredient, oxycodone, has been available in the United States for more than 70 years and is used in almost 60 different pain medications.

The abuse of prescription medications is a serious public health problem. OxyContin, like many other drugs, has become a target for illegal trafficking and abuse. However, the most recent data published by the federal government (“DAWN” data) suggests that all forms of oxycodone are abused less frequently than many other medications, including hydrocodone and benzodiazepines (anxiety medicines).

Our company has heard from regulatory and law enforcement officials across the country, most recently in Sen. Susan Collins’ hearing held in Maine last month, that the prevalence of OxyContin abuse may be attenuating. We believe that the many prevention and education programs Purdue Pharma has sponsored are an important contribution to addressing this complex problem.

Prescription drug diversion is caused by illegal drug traffickers and a few bad doctors. Placing the blame on a single medication ignores the underlying socioeconomic problems of poverty and limited health-care services that have contributed to a long history of substance abuse in many areas of the country. Not only does your article misinform readers about the true nature of prescription drug abuse, it may raise additional barriers to the care for patients with pain, many of whom rely on powerful analgesics to lead near normal lives.

This issue can only be adequately addressed through a collaborative effort by law enforcement, the health-care community, the pharmaceutical industry, and others. Purdue has taken a leadership role in reaching out to these groups to combat the abuse and diversion of prescription medications, while making sure that these medications remain available to the patients who need them.

The media can do its part in addressing this public health problem by reporting balanced facts instead of sensational, one-sided hyperbole.

PAUL D. GOLDENHEIM.

Executive vice president

Worldwide research and development

Chief scientific officer

Purdue Pharma, L.P

Stamford, Conn.

A bit surprised

Georgie Anne Geyer’s anti-war polemic (“Red, white and blue over Iraq,” Commentary, Sept. 7) was better suited for some left-wing magazine or Bush-hating blog site than the pages of The Washington Times. Miss Geyer is just another hack journalist who opposed the Iraq war from the outset and is now looking for evidence to justify her biases in the aftermath.

Miss Geyer insists that the Iraq situation is chaotic and deteriorating and that the United States is caught up in a quagmire. That’s pretty much the conclusion of the mainstream media and the national Democratic Party, to the extent they are distinguishable. She makes rather foolish comments about U.S. empire building, as though the objective in Iraq has something to do with conquest and holding territory, when we only want to give it back to a de-Saddamized Iraqi people. Having constructed a distorted fantasy world, she then proceeds to deconstruct it.

Bombings at the U.N. compound and a Shi’ite mosque in a country the size of California was indicative of highly localized chaos. They were soft targets where security was nonexistent, largely because in both instances the occupants wanted no part of the U.S. military. The victims chose poorly and paid dearly. These unfortunate episodes say very little about the condition of the country generally. They do not prove the quagmire or general chaos thesis even remotely.

Yes, there are security challenges that remain in the country, but journalists like Miss Geyer focus almost exclusively on the bad news while ignoring signs of progress. This is what many journalists do, of course. Paul Bremer’s public statements provide a balanced view of the forward steps in Kurdistan and Southern Iraq and even in Baghdad. Problem areas in central Iraq are of the sort that can be expected in the aftermath of any war. It took years for Germany and Japan to stabilize after World War II. Too bad this oh-so-experienced journalist hasn’t learned from history.

A few short months after the cessation of major hostilities is insufficient time to stabilize and rebuild a country that suffered for decades under a brutal dictatorship.

TOM STAUSS

Ocean Pines, Md.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide