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June 14, 2000

Legislation and End-of-Life Care

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(22):2933. doi:10.1001/jama.283.22.2931

To the Editor: I agree with Drs Orentlicher and Caplan1 that the primary goal of the sponsors of PRPA appears to be the elimination of state physician-assisted suicide laws. However, as a physician specializing in pain medicine, I take issue with their statement that "the unfortunate reality is that even now legal concerns make physicians overly cautious about prescribing the medications necessary to relieve the pain and other suffering of their patients." This statement perpetuates the widely held, but questionable, view that inadequate pain management is primarily due to perceived legal sanctions in the use of opioids.