Opinion | A Discovery, Opioids and Women in Science

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Brandy SchillaceS Evaluation of”Candace Pert” as if Pamela Rykman (Bookshelf, Nov. 15) Contain the questionable conclusion that the discovery of the mu opioid receptor in 1972 “helped start the opioid crisis” by accelerating the development of new drugs. Fentanyl, oxycodone, and heroin were developed decades before radiolabeled (tritiated) naloxone was used to target the Pert receptor. Heroin was a century ago. Current drugs are designed to treat opioid use disorder or to rescue people from opioid overdoses and are synthesized before drug interactions at mu opioid receptors are investigated.

Regarding gender bias, I started graduate school in 1963. Although I have sometimes encountered a biased or cynical scientist, throughout my career I have been blessed with countless supportive, generous, helpful, family-oriented male scientists, mentors, and administrators. This attitude—appreciating their own righteousness and forgiving others—helped women find a place.

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