PRESS RELEASE - May 26, 2004
PHYSICIANS FOR COMPASSIONATE CARE REACTS TO THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT
OF APPEALS DECISION
Dr. N. Gregory Hamilton says, "It's amazing that a Federal Court
would allow any state to nullify federal regulatory authority and
federal law. I'm hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will
see it differently."
"This is a political decision that is bigger than assisted suicide.
If Oregon is allowed to exempt itself from federal law about the
misuse of controlled substances for the purposes of overdosing patients,
what is to stop any state from exempting itself from other important
federal regulations and laws?"
"The Ninth Circuit Court got the state's rights issue exactly backwards.
This is not a case of the federal government intervening in state
regulatory authority. This is a case of a single state imposing its
will on the federal government and, in fact, requiring the federal
government to rewrite its laws."
"The Ninth Circuit Court misinterpreted the Controlled Substances
Act when it claimed that federal authority over controlled substances
was limited to drug abuse. Actually, the Controlled Substances Act
clearly required the Department of Justice to disallow any non-medical
use of federally controlled substances-and that includes overdosing
patients with these drugs. There have been cases over the more that
thirty years the Controlled Substances Act has been in place where
doctors were sanctioned for overdosing patients with these drugs.
Now the Ninth Circuit Court has decided that the most vulnerable
citizens of Oregon won't have these protections."
"The abuses of assisted suicide in Oregon, including giving depressed
patients, and mentally ill patients with questionable competence,
lethal overdoses, as happened in the case of Michael Freeland, make
it clear that the federal government was right to protect patients
by declaring that assisted suicide is a violation of the Controlled
For comment contact Dr. Hamilton (503-816-2224) or Dr. Kenneth Stevens,
Professor and Chairman of Radiation Oncology, OHSU (503-481-8410,
page 503-599-4439, or firstname.lastname@example.org)