Senate Committee Votes 11-6 Against Use of Federal Drugs for Euthanasia.On September 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee The U.S. Senate established the Committee on the Judiciary on December 10, 1816, as one of the original 11 standing committees. It is also one of the most powerful committees in Congress; among its wide range of jurisdictions is investigation of federal judicial nominees and oversight of voted 11-6 to report out to the full Senate the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma. All ten Republicans, joined by Joseph Biden (D-De.), voted in favor of the measure. Because of the shortness of the time remaining in the current congressional session, however, it now appears unlikely that the bill (or its companion in the House, which has been reported from the House Judiciary Committee) will come to a floor vote this year.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act Controlled Substances Act /Con·trolled Sub·stan·ces Act/ a federal law that regulates the prescribing and dispensing of psychoactive drugs, including narcotics, hallucinogens, depressants, and stimulants. and its implementing regulations, the use of narcotics narcotics n. 1) techinically, drugs which dull the senses. 2) a popular generic term for drugs which cannot be legally possessed, sold, or transported except for medicinal uses for which a physician or dentist's prescription is required. and other dangerous drugs are generally prohibited unless prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose by physicians holding a special federal "registration." In November 1997, as implementation of Oregon's law legalizing physician-assisted suicide neared, the federal agency that enforces the Controlled Substances Act announced that because killing patients is not a legitimate medical purpose, federally controlled substances may not be used to aid suicide. In June 1998, however, Attorney General Janet Reno partially overturned that ruling. In states in which assisting suicide violates state law, she said, federally controlled substances may not be used for that purpose, and a doctor's registration may be revoked for doing so. Where a state law authorizes killing patients, however, she ruled that federally controlled substances may be used for that purpose without penalty.
It was to change the Reno ruling and restore the original position of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established in 1973 by President richard m. nixon as part of the Justice Department, thus uniting a number of federal drug agencies that had often worked at cross-purposes. that the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act was introduced by Sen. Nickles and, in the House, by Reps. Henry Hyde and James Oberstar.
Meanwhile, a new organization composed largely of health care expert professionals in pain control and the care of those with terminal illness has been formed to fight euthanasia. Called Ameri-cans for Integrity in Palliative Care palliative care (paˑ·lē·ā·tiv kerˑ),
n an approach to health care that is concerned primarily with attending to physical and emotional comfort rather , its founding members include the executive director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was founded in 1987 by a group of experts on suicide who wanted to create a 501(c)3 organization to fund research in suicide prevention. , Dr. Herbert Hendin, and the chairman of the Ethics Committee ethics committee A multidisciplinary hospital body composed of a broad spectrum of personnel–eg, physicians, nurses, social workers, priests, and others, which addresses the moral and ethical issues within the hospital. See DNR, Institutional review board. of the National Hospice Organization, Dr. Walter Hunter. In a briefing for congressional staff and others sponsored by the organization on September 23, Dr.Hunter and Dr. Dave Weldon, a member of Congress from Florida, spoke out on behalf of the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act.
Dr. Hunter, who emphasized that he was speaking for himself and not the National Hospice Organization (which has led opposition to the bill), pointed out the danger to good pain control that comes from the institutionalization Institutionalization
The gradual domination of financial markets by institutional investors, as opposed to individual investors. This process has occurred throughout the industrialized world. of assisted suicide assisted suicide: see euthanasia. as a "medical treatment." "I am deeply concerned that when assisted suicide and euthanasia become part of the normative culture, hospice and palliative care may well disappear from the landscape because they require far more resources of time, money, education and commitment than the deliberate hastening of death," Dr. Hunter said.
Dr. Weldon described his personal experiences as a physician who has provided pain control for terminally ill Terminally Ill
When a person is not expected to live more than 12 months.
Any gifts given out by the afflicted person at this time may be considered as a dispersion of the estate rather than a gift. patients, illustrating the difference between giving pain relief that may carry the risk of death and providing drugs intended to cause death. He emphasized that the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act adds to current law specific language embodying that ethically appropriate distinction.
At the briefing, Americans for Integrity in Palliative Care distributed a factsheet demonstrating that many medical groups who have couched their opposition to the bill in terms of concern that its enactment would deter pain control in fact oppose laws that prevent assisting suicide. These include the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American College of Physicians The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a national organization of doctors of internal medicine (internists), physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults. , and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, among others.
"We know from the debate over abortion that its proponents want to change the subject and talk about anything other than abortion itself," said Burke J. Balch, director of NRLC's Department of Medical Ethics medical ethics The moral construct focused on the medical issues of individual Pts and medical practitioners. See Baby Doe, Brouphy, Conran, Jefferson, Kevorkian, Quinlan, Roe v Wade, Webster decision. . "It is not surprising that euthanasia advocates have sought to distract attention from debate over assisting suicide by introducing unfounded arguments about pain control. While accurately emphasizing that the Lethal Drug Abuse Prevention Act would promote, not hinder, pain control, we must put the focus of the debate on the principle that a humane society doesn't `solve' problems by getting rid of the patient to whom the problems happen."