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Misunderstood Drug Confuses Those Who Surround Mike Tyson

October 08, 1988

Mike Tyson's trainer, Kevin Rooney, would make a good politician. He opens his mouth and pontificates without knowing any facts (Morning Briefing, Sept. 27).

The naturally occurring salt, lithium, is definitely not addicting. Perhaps Rooney was confusing it with Librium, a sedative chemically related to Valium. Both of those drugs are potentially addicting, and could, if abused, make a person "useless for himself and his family."

Lithium is neither a downer nor an upper. It is an amazingly effective adjunct in the treatment of manic-depressive disease, an inherited illness that is still misunderstood and subject to medieval superstitious nonsense, such as the proclamations by Rooney.

It's the same old organ discrimination: If there's a chemical imbalance in your pancreas, take insulin, and no one will call you names. If the imbalance is in your heart muscle, take potassium or whatever you need; people will understand.

But if that chemical problem is in your brain, God help you. Your fellow man sure won't.

JEROME SABEL

Newhall

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