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Jul-13-2012 20:05printcomments

Marijuana: Forbidden Medicine for Oregon's Dangerous Workplace

I hope Dr. Grinspan will forgive my borrowing his title.

Dr. Phil Leveque and Bonnie King

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I pulled a suggested title from the Oregonian newspaper, July 2, 2012. The first article was an op-ed titled “Treating pain and fighting prescription abuse” by Dr. Sharon Meieren, an emergency physician who unfortunately doesn’t understand the difference between opiate and opioid drugs.

Secondly, she doesn’t know that Oregon has some of the most physically dangerous industries: logging, sawmills, construction and deep sea fishing which produce hundreds of serious injuries and deaths per year.

I guess she doesn’t see them, but those are responsible for the high use of prescription pain killers such as morphine:
1) she does state accurately that narcotic drug overdose causes many deaths;
2) she also points out that Oregon is fifth highest in non-medical use of pain killers with 700 deaths between 2003-2007;
3) as of 2008, 17.9% of Oregonians aged 18-25 had used opioids (she means opiates like Morphine, non-medically);
4) she also points out that 7% of 11th graders had used a prescription drug to “get high” in the past 30 days.

These statistics about narcotic drugs are interesting but obscure the fact that they are available because of the large number of seriously injured workers and their doctors that prescribe them heavily.

She calls Morphine and Oxycodone “opioids”, they are not. They are opiates derived directly from opium. Opioids are totally synthetic. They include Demerol, Methadone, and Fentanyl - none made from opium.

She says chronic pain patients should be “treated” by a combination of pharmacists, physical therapists, psychology counselors, and alternative modalities such as acupuncture, yoga, or water exercises. May I tell her none of the latter work?

Even the body has its own “opiates”: endorphin and encephalin. Group therapists are tooooo expensive for a medical care system and are of very limited therapeutic value.

She points out that opioids (not really, they are opiates), like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone kill more people than heroin. This is true, the prescription drugs are easier to get and heroin is not that available.

Another point she disregards is that all these narcotics cause effects requiring more drugs. She quotes 120 mg of morphine as the top safe dose. One of my patients, a terribly disabled VA patient, was given 460 mg a day. That is probably not a record.

Most of my 5,000 medical marijuana patients, about 3,000, were fugitives from the opiates: Morphine, OxyContin and Vicadin (Hydrocodone). Some of them were fugitives of the opioids Demerol, methadone and Fentanyl, whose effects were worse than the injury problem.

The second article by Dr. Oz (July 4, 2012), his advice to decrease pain was:
1) to use hot and cold packs;
2) decrease your weight (even if you weigh only 100 pounds?);
3) de-stress daily and meditate;
4) use topical pain relievers such as capsicum coming from Cayenne pepper.

I bet Dr. Oz never had a severe muscle injury.



Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
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More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier

If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on

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