LEGAL AID PRESIDENT RESPONDS
Re Bryonn Bain's "Three Days in NYC Jails" [September 24-30]:
Bryonn Bain's first-person account describes a terrible ordeal. Because of identity theft, he faced three warrants based on charges of criminal impersonation and grand larceny. As anyone who has been a victim knows, identity theft can take months to unravel.
That bail was set for Bain is extraordinary, and was accomplished through Legal Aid's investigatory work in the Bronx with his wife and colleagues. Bain's attorney is a Legal Aid lawyer.
While it is always useful to see our organization through our clients' eyes, the very title of Bain's article is not without irony. All persons arrested in New York City used to spend at least three days in jail until Legal Aid successfully sued to bring arrest-to-arraignment time to under 24 hours. Every day hundreds of Legal Aid staff members fight the kinds of systematic problems described by Bain. I am proud of them for doing do.
Daniel L. Greenberg
President and Attorney in Chief
Legal Aid SocietyBattery Park
ANGELS OF MERCY
Re Bill Landis's article on online pharmacies ["Go E-Mail the Doctor," October 15-21]:
As a freelancer, I am uninsured and I suffer terribly from a very painful condition, which I cannot afford to find treatment for. Ops have offered me the relative luxury of paying a stranger to keep me pain-free.
My only fear is that the article will call negative attention to the angels of mercy out there, money-grubbers or not. It goes without saying that health care in our country is a cruel farce. My hope is that ops will continue to offer people like me some relief.
San Francisco, California
"Reputable ops" is an oxymoron. Whoever is prescribing this poison cannot get an accurate medical history from an online survey. The acetaminophen alone in these toxic mixes is enough to cause permanent liver damage in a healthy body.
Also: Post-traumatic stress counseling would be the order of the day for someone still suffering from the aftershocks of 9-11.
Nancy Rodrigues, R.N.
PROPS TO OPS
Thank you for the terrific and realistic look at online pharmacies. Landis is correct: Many customers are just receiving the medicines they needmeds that many doctors won't prescribe. Instead of calling these patients addicts, I suggest we let them decide what is appropriate for their medical issues. This article, unlike many I have read, was not condescending or written to make users of ops feel ashamed.
I am having difficulty figuring out if Bill Landis is just naive or if he purposely misrepresented the state of prescription pain medications in our nation. It is an undisputed fact that the most abused substances (other than alcohol and tobacco) in the U.S. are prescription pain medications. Landis implies there is less possibility of addiction to those Schedule III-V drugs such as hydrocodone and benzodiazepines, which the "ops" provide. He goes on to suggest that physicians and pain clinics cruelly won't provide as much of these substances as anyone in pain may want, and that they are motivated by profit.
Clearly these drugs have a place in current medical therapy, and not everyone who needs them is an addict. But permitting them to be ordered online as easily as a cookbook or a tricycle is tantamount to giving a loaded gun to a child. It shouldn't be hard to realize that those who are addicts cannot regulate the amount of drug their bodies crave. To say that addictive substances should be cheaply and easily available to those who are, or may become, addicted to them is plain dumb. Just ask Rush Limbaugh.
Devlyn Corrigan, D.O.
Upper East Side
JUST DOUBLE-CLICK 'NO'
So you think TropicalRx is performing a public service? My 15-year-old son is in a psych ward because of hydrocodone he bought over the Internet from them. Forgive me if I don't share your good opinion of their operation.
He "borrowed" my credit card and used the name of a 19-year-old "friend" who signed the FedEx form. TropicalRx's doctor approved an online application from an anonymous Hotmail account, and a name and street address different than on the credit card used.
I think a more interesting story would be of the greed of "legitimate" partners of TropicalRx. TropicalRx would not be successful at pushing drugs to the children of America without firms like Google and Visa that enable them to advertise and transact business. My son told me, "Hydrocodone is not so bad. It is a prescription drug; I got it from a doctor who works for TropicalRx and I found them from a Google banner."
Thank you so much. We chronic pain sufferers, especially those of us without insurance, have found these pharmacies to be lifesavers. With all the negative publicity lately, there is a lot of fear that they will be forced out of business.
It's so refreshing that someone finally told our side of the story. Bless you, bless you.
Bill Landis replies:
To Nancy Rodrigues: It is one's civil liberty as an American to deal with the hideous terrorist attacks of 9-11 and their mental and physical effects in either a pharmaceutical or other manner. How dare you insinuate all op customers are junkies poisoning themselves with Tylenol?
To Devlyn Corrigan: The regular uninsured Joe doesn't get your attention or the necessary medications from doctors like you, which is why I wrote the article. Read the article again with regard to what it said about the substances being addictive.
To Name Withheld, Chicago: How did he get the credit card? And if it weren't that substance, it could have been street drugs, which he could have obtained from peers. TropicalRx was not portrayed as one of the better ops in the piece. And ops do not want the problems of having adolescents order from them.
And to the other writers: Thanks for your supportthose comments made me glad I wrote the piece.
Bryan Pickens was mistakenly identified in Ward Harkavy's "The National Bush-Cheney Gazillions Tour" (October 22-28) as a son of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens. That was based on a Federal Election Commission document that erroneously lists Bryan Pickens as an employee of Boone Pickens's oil company. Bryan Pickens, a Dallas entrepreneur and investor, is not related to Boone Pickens and has no connection to that company.
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