Brief Summaries of Five Cases of Prisoners who took Dilantin

James L.

Before PHT: I feel miserable, a bunch of nerves. I have a grudge on me I canít get rid of...I take it out on everyone. Itís so bad that sometimes I have myself locked in so I wonít cause any trouble. I canít work or nothing. When youíre down-and-out there isnít much you can do. I canít digest my food right...I donít feel like eating nothing. My thinking is bad, there are quite a few thoughts in my mind, I canít concentrate at all. It takes me a day-and-a-half to write one letter. I get them phantom limb pains [he had a wooden leg] quite a bit, at least three times a week. The pain, I can just take so much of it. I canít sleep and I canít sit still or nothing. Sometimes I have them headaches in the afternoon and at night I get them right back again.

With PHT (Non-Blind): I feel a lot better. All the guys down there say I ainít the same guy...because I let them all out of their cells. [James L. was a trusty.] I didnít lock nobody up. Now Iím eating like a fool, before I couldnít eat. I get them headaches once in a while but not too often. Thatís why I stopped taking those aspirins.

After Being Off PHT (Two Weeks): I never get to sleep...I sleep about an hour, thatís all. I get weak but I canít seem to hold my weight. The guys put me on the bed and I come out of it after a while. I get them headaches quite often now. Iím getting phantom limb pains again...I had it again yesterday. I couldnít even lay down on the bed. I kept twisting and turning.

Iíll read a story and, as a matter of fact, I wonít even know what I read.

With Placebo (Double-Blind): Iím down and out right now. My mindís all bunched up now. I passed out Wednesday. I get headaches. Anger, about the same as it was before the pills. I had those phantom limb pains Wednesday.

With PHT (Single-Blind): I feel good right now.Ö I feel altogether different...I feel much better since I got them pills. Iíve been kidding around with everybody...For the last two days the fellows have been saying Iím not the same guy. No headaches. No phantom limb pains.

David H.

Before PHT: I have a temper that shouldnít be...I shake when Iím angry and canít stop. I have stomach trouble...I think itís from nerves. If something happens, I twist and turn it in my mind until Iíve made a problem out of nothing...I canít turn my mind off. I canít go to sleep. Quite often Iíll get depressed and start worrying about home and whatís going on outside these lovely walls. I lose all hope and energy.

With PHT (Non-Blind): Well, I feel Iím a lot calmer...I can sit still, without jumping up. For the past five or six days Iíve been sure of myself in the things I say and what I do. I get angry just as fast but I can control doesnít keep poppiní back into my mind. I used to read three or four chapters without knowing what I read. Now I can lie there and remember what Iíve read. Iíve been eating my meals and enjoying them.

After Being Off PHT (Two Weeks): I feel very tired, irritable and grouchy. Iím not getting along well...People are getting on my nerves to the extent where Iím ready to assassinate them. I donít eat hardly anything...Iím not sleeping very well...I feel just terrible. I got a few problems and I just canít get them out of my mind. Iím worrying about them all the time...Iíve tried my case a thousand times.

With PHT (Double-Blind): I think Iím on the Dilantin right now. Iím not nervous...Iím not tense or ready to jump at anyone.

Iím not grouchy...I seem to still have a temper, but I go into a situation with a little more confidence. I donít just jump off the handle. I seem able to push my thoughts a couple of stories and know what I read. I feel fine as far as my stomach goes...My appetite has picked up...I been sleeping to go right to sleep.

Clifford S.

Before PHT: Iím very high-strung...I let everything build up inside...Then I just explode. I do a lot of thinking. I get these wicked headaches...Iíll take six or seven aspirin...and the headache wonít go away. Iíll have it all day. I donít sleep well. Between twelve and two in the morning I usually get these nightmares...scare a guy right out of his head.

With PHT (Non-Blind): I just feel wonderful...You know how I can feel my nerves are relaxed? Iíve done four paintings; I donít paint when Iím nervous because I canít concentrate...If I can sit down and do a painting a day it makes me happy. Iím in a good mood. I donít feel angry at anybody...Iíve only really got mad once since the last time I seen you. It went right away. Iíve been sleeping a lot. I ainít jumpy all the time. I ainít looking behind me anymore.

After Being Off PHT (Two Weeks): Iím tense inside, I canít stay in one place too long, I get up and move around...I just pick a book up, look at it and throw it back down. I feel that anger...Whenever I get in a fight I canít control myself. I wake up about five or six times during the night.

With Placebo (Double-Blind): My nerves are jittery inside...I canít sit in one place too long. This week when I was lifting, I got dizzy three or four times and I was only working out with light weights. I know my mindís always been going on. Actually, I donít feel these pills have done anything for me.

With PHT (Single-Blind): I just feel good. I am completely relaxed...I ainít nervous, tense or nothing. Thereís no anger at all.

Sleep better...ainít tired...all kinds of energy; washing windows, floors. I can concentrate better.

Philip B.

Before PHT: I am quite nervous now. Iíve been more or less nervous all my life. And shake a lot, you just feel it, that youíre shaking. If I get nervous my hands break out in a little rash. I get tightness in my chest quite often. Itís a pain, it takes your breath away sometimes. I think a lot, there is too much on my mind. I try to put it out of my mind and it just stays there. The mind wanders and it doesnít focus on what Iím doing. Sometimes itís 3:00 oíclock in the morning before I get to sleep.

With PH (Non-Blind): I feel good all over now. I seem to relax a lot more. Since Iíve been taking the pills I havenít been walking around, pacing back and forth so much. These past few nights Iíve been going right to sleep. I havenít been so depressed. Iíve been eating better. And I havenít had those pains in my chest. And I can concentrate better on my work. And Iím not making as many mistakes.

After Being Off PHT (Two Weeks): Well, I feel Iím right back where I was before I started taking the pills. I donít sleep well. I walk around all the time. Nervous all the timeóagitated, quick-tempered, get shook up. Iím always thinkingówandering awayóalways thinking of different things. Iíve been very depressed.

With PHT (Double-Blind): I feel good, very good, feel a lot better, honestly. And I havenít had those chest pains this week at all. The rash it cleared right up. Iím more relaxed. I can just forget about things now. Iíve been able to do my work better. The last few days Iíve been goiní to sleep right off. I feel much better than I have for the last three years.

Suggestions from the Prisoners for the use of PHT in Prisons

When the study was over we met with the inmates as a group for the first time. Each of the prisoners had told us he wanted to continue taking PHT. But I learned this was not going to be permitted, and there was nothing I could do about that. But I could tell the prisoners what I knew about the medicineóit might be useful to them later on. We had a long, friendly discussion. As we were saying goodbye, John G. volunteered:

John G.: If this pill was ever put on the market it would be a godsend to both Walpole and Concord prisons. Judging by this group here, itíd work miracles up there. You have men doing ten, fifteen, twenty, and life. And thatís where Iíd like to see them back up a whole truckload of the stuff andó

Jack D.: You mean Dilantin?

John G.: Dilantin is right. Those guys are walkiní on edge all the time. Thereís where the trouble starts, more so than here. These fellows are all going fairly short. Up there you got a bunch of fellows that got nothing to lose and, well, theyíre all packed in together.

Jack D.: You think that in those prisons...

John G.: I think they need it even worse than the fellows do here. You can ask Jim and Spike.

Jack D.: Do you agree with that, Spike?

Victor M.: Oh, yes, I agree with that very much.

Jack D.: What would you say, Jim?

James L.: The same thing. I was there for a while myself and I know. It would help a lot of them guys. You walk around there and if you say the wrong thing, youíre liable to go bouncing off the wall.

John G.: Those guys are so on edge they gotta take yellow jackets and bennies once in a while to relieve that. What if they didnít have this tension built up? They wouldnít have the trouble they do now.

Jack D.: Well, John, thank you for the thought.

The prisonersí suggestion that the use of PHT, on a voluntary basis, be permitted inside a prison should be considered. Some prisoners are in jail because of problems in their nervous systems, and these problems are exacerbated by their confinement. With too much time to think and brood, itís no wonder that some prisoners live in a sort of hell and canít help imposing it on those around them. Allowing PHT to be taken on a voluntary basis could make an important difference to those individuals who need itóand to others who are endangered by their potential for violence. When one realizes that PHT is not habit-forming, withholding it from prisoners is the opposite of protection of their rights.

As stated earlier, this study was not of prisoners as such but a study of individuals with problems of their nervous systems. The objective was to see if, in a double-blind study, the effects of PHT that had been observed on an uncontrolled basis would be confirmed. They were, and additional effects of PHT were observed. (I participated in two further studies in institutions, one with Dr. Resnick at the Lyman Reformatory for Boys in Lyman, Massachusetts, the other at the Patuxent Institution in Maryland, with Dr. Joel Elkes, head of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Joseph Stephens and Dr. Lino S. Covi, also of Hopkins. Although not controlled studies, the results were similar to those of the Worcester study. Since this was published three other studies were done at correctional institutions outside the United States.) I felt the time had come to go to the federal government.

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