On VacationIs there a prize for editors who think up...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 22, 1993

On Vacation

Is there a prize for editors who think up pointless, deceptive headlines just to catch the reader's eye? If so, award it to whoever thought up "Martha's Vineyard has room for Clinton but it's no vacation for its Indians," in the Aug. 17 Sun.

It would indicate that the president is to blame for how Indians native to Massachusetts are displaced. What about Walter Cronkite and other celebrities who visit the island but were not in your headline?

If you wish to comment on his vacation and the vacation experiences of the presidential family, why not write an article about the fact that the Clintons do not have a mansion by the sea, nor a ranch or farm where the government paid for heliports, security watch towers such as I saw in Key Biscayne, Fla.?

This president is working at his job. As Barry Goldwater said on a recent network broadcast, "He's a bright, hard-working fellow. I encourage my party, the Republicans, to let him govern."

Sylvia B. Mandy

Baltimore

Choice and Liberty

As a pro-choice advocate, I'm always interested in what Cal Thomas has to say about abortion rights.

His July 20 Opinion * Commentary column, "Eugenic Abortion," hit an all-time low for me. I consider his remarks not only alarming but un-American.

When so many decent people are working to mend and advance understanding between all Americans, it is unthinkable to allow his race-baiting remarks to go unchallenged.

As coordinator of the Maryland Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, I work with people from all backgrounds and faiths to bring to the public an understanding of the need for individual decision-making in regard to problem pregnancies.

For us in the pro-choice religious community, reproductive choice is the true test of religious liberty. We see the disadvantaged denied basic rights taken for granted by others. They are condemned to forced motherhood and poverty because of economic discrimination.

In most cases, the only chance a poor family has to rise above poverty is to concentrate its limited funds and energies on fewer children, thereby giving them the best chance for a better life. This is true if you grow flowers or bear children.

Cal Thomas' inflammatory remarks equating abortion with racism are unfounded, as more white women get abortions and more white families live in poverty.

The tragedy of unwanted births, abuse and the degradation of the human spirit could be lifted through education and if all women were given choices on contraception and abortion.

We need a clean (no damaging amendments) Freedom of Choice Act and federally funded reproductive health care which must include abortion services.

Eleanor A. Johnson

White Hall

Treating Addictions

In Jonathan Bor's Aug. 9 article, he suggests that ibogaine, an hallucinogenic drug from Gabon, may have potential in the treatment of addiction.

He states, "Ibogaine would offer a unique weapon in the war on drugs -- an agent that ends addicts' craving instead of producing a substitute addiction that can be just as hard to kick."

He then continued, "For now, ibogaine remains the only drug under active investigation that -- at least in theory -- allows the addict to leapfrog past physical withdrawal and live without the psychologic craving that defeats most people who are trying to quit."

This is simply not true. For the last nine months I have been treating patients in my Towson office for not only obesity but also alcohol and cocaine addiction.

Loss of craving for food, alcohol or cocaine takes place in less than three hours and occurs in the vast majority of patients. This treatment can also manage depression and manic depression in patients previously not helped by other available treatment.

I am treating these patients with medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than 25 years ago. These medications are available widely and at low cost.

At the doses I am using, they are safe, non-addictive and are not hallucinogenic, as is ibogaine. In fact, the medical literature is replete with caveats against ibogaine's use in human beings. Ibogaine has little chance of passing the toxicology standards of the FDA.

My results have been phenomenal. Of the more than 100 alcoholic and 30 cocaine addicts I have treated, close to 100 percent have lost their craving. More than 80 percent continue treatment and have resumed functional lives.

The median weight loss is increasing with the passage of time. The torture of depression and manic depression has been relieved in more than 100 patients. Preliminary results show that narcotic, and possibly nicotine addiction, may also respond with some modifications in the protocol.

The lead article of the February Maryland Medical Journal covered my preliminary results and hypothesis.

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