I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by drug-war rhetoric from both the left and right, but why on earth would you worry about an 83-year-old becoming addicted to Duragesic? Don’t you know that the research is clear that iatrogenic addiction is extremely rare among people (in the single digits, according to most data) without a history of substance abuse and that long-lasting, slow-acting medications like patches are among the least likely to produce addiction? Don’t you know that among older people, such addiction is even rarer? And that even among young people who try heroin, for goodness, sake, for recreational purposes, only 10-20 percent get hooked? If you don’t, I would be happy to provide citations.
You claimed that all analgesics can hurt the kidneys, but this is not true of opioids. When used as directed in a steady dose, their only side effects tend to be constipation. They are actually far safer than NSAIDS because they don’t cause bleeding.
Why can’t we tell the truth about opioids? And why can’t we let patients make an informed choice based on the data, rather than paternalistically presupposing that all humans are incipient dope fiends?
New York City
You are right that decisions about pain medication should be made pharmacologically and on a patient-by-patient basis. However, you are wrong to say that opiates don’t have a long-term addictive potential and aren’t likely to be abused. These feel-good drugs are great pain medications, but they are abused routinely, even if not by the majority of those who use them responsibly. And I do not say this simply because I can’t bear Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
I have received information warning against freezing water in plastic water bottles; then adding water as it thaws, and using it for drinking. This is exactly what I do when I go out golfing! The gist was that when the ice thaws the bottle releases toxins into the water making it unsafe to drink. Is this true?
Gold Canyon, AZ
It is a fair question. It actually depends on the bottle. Acutely, though, I don’t think there’s a problem. However, prolonged exposure to plastic, especially when the exposure is then transferred to your stomach, could conceivably act as a low level carcinogen. I wouldn’t worry about it if you only use the water bottle on the weekends, but you might want to consider bottling water, rather than ice, as a general practice.
I’m writing because I saw you on “Help Me Howard” from the Channel 11 news. The topic was about herbal dietary supplements. I took an interest because I need help finding out about an herbal product. The product is called Vanity. It is used to increase breast size. I would like to try the product but I am scared that it may contain something that can hurt me and I am also scared it won’t work. I wanted to try breast implants but I am also terrified of that, so I figured that breast-enhancement pills were better. However, I feel that I can’t buy it unless I receive all the information I need. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
New York City
I am concerned about the risks of any herbal supplement that is used to increase breast size–it is bound to have unregulated amounts of active hormone that can cause other effects on the body. In terms of breast implants, many people are happy with the results, but there are still many unproven questions related to silicone, and saline implants–the safer alternative–aren’t as effective. But how about accepting yourself as you are? I am not a big fan of cosmetic changes, because I think we all have to work harder to accept who we are rather than to fulfill the image that someone else may have of us. Many other writers have taken on this issue with great eloquence, including The Nation’s Katha Pollitt.