Medicine: Tranquil Tales

Senate hears of Valium woes

"It was like somebody forced kerosene under your skin and every once in a while they set fire to it. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I felt depressed." This description of going cold turkey was voiced last week not by a typical junkie but by Dr.William Thomas of Long Beach, Calif. Like the priest, banker, teacher and housewife who told similar tales at a Senate health subcommittee hearing, the doctor was not addicted to heroin. He and the others were hooked on so-called minor tranquilizers, particularly Valium, the nation's bestselling prescription drug.

Their problem is shared...

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