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To the Editor:—
In The Journal, July 13, H. J. Anslinger, referring to my article on Demerol in the Reader's Digest of June 1946, states that the drug's addiction properties were found to be similar to morphine in the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Ky., and that this was confirmed by others who experimented with it. The studies to which Mr. Anslinger clearly refers are those published by Dr. C. K. Himmelsbach. The essential point of Dr. Himmelsbach's several papers is that Demerol does not possess addicting properties similar to those of morphine but even less than those of codeine. For instance, he states (J. Pharmacol. & Exper. Therap.75:64 [May] 1942), "Not only was the Demerol abstinence syndrome less severe than that of morphine or codeine by objective criteria, but the subjective complaints were markedly reduced."Since addiction liability to anything from coffee to morphine
de Kruif P. DEMEROL. JAMA. 1946;132(1):43. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870360045018