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February 14, 1972

The Case History of a ResolutionThere Oughtn't to Be a Law

JAMA. 1972;219(7):898-899. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190330058014

A common approach these days to almost any social ill is to propose legislation, and if such legislation is passed, to believe the problem will disappear. There is no reason to suppose that the common approach is the best. Last fall Utah, like many other communities, was experiencing difficulties with amphetamines. The Utah Society of Internal Medicine (USIM) decided to find out what would happen were its members to declare an immediate ban on the prescribing of any and all amphetamines for the treatment of obesity. We were by no means certain of what would happen. We knew scientific opinion was on our side. We also knew that very restrictive legislation was being proposed in an effort to curb drug abuse, so great had been the public outcry. The legislation was aimed mainly at legitimate prescription sales. We believed that such a law would severely complicate the legitimate use of