220 W. 9th St.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
(319) 266-7838 (phone)
(319) 235-8558 (pager)
November 12, 1997
I visited with
Dr. Verduyn the other day. He was in whole-hearted agreement with the usefulness and
effectiveness of marijuana in treating my condition, and that it probably was a better,
safer, and less toxic treatment than other drugs available to me. However, when I
asked for a letter simply saying that if marijuana were legal, he would recommend it, he
said no. He said that writing that letter hadn't helped Al Helmers and it wouldn't
help me either. He said that the media got it all wrong and made him out to be
"pro-marijuana," and all it did was get him on the front page and cause a large
number of patients to call him (imagine that!).
He went on to tell me about how his office, being a "pain clinic," is more closely scrutinized than most doctors' offices, partially because they prescribe a lot of narcotics to their patients. He said that he was afraid of losing his license to write prescriptions.
I asked him straight up, "Are you being threatened by any federal agencies like the D.E.A.?"
He said, "No ... not yet."
Well, something has changed Dr. Verduyn's mind since the Al Helmers case. I guess the doctors (who have everthing to lose) just aren't as desperate to get help as the patients (who have very little left to lose). What happened to "first, do no harm ..." from the hippocratic oath? I am not the criminal in this case, I am the victim in a struggle of power and money. What happened to medicine? What happens to patients?