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WP: As opioid overdoses rise, police officers become counselors, doctors and social workers


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As we cut social service programs because they are too expensive, I wonder how long it will be until we relearn the lessons of "Million Dollar Murray."

 

It doesn't matter if it is opioids (current epidemic), weed, crack or liquor.  The question to my mind is how serious are we about solving the problems?  One of my favorite quotes about what it takes for society to deal effectively with similar situations is "We can either be fair or effective, but we can't be both."  How do you tell the hard working single mom that society will provide a home and counselor to this troubled man while she struggles to pay rent and provide food?  Again, we can either be fair or effective.

 

As I watch so many safety nets taken down because they are too expensive for the tax payers, I find myself expecting we will pay far more in dollars and wasted lives traveling down our chosen path in the name of "fair."  There is a side of me left wondering if a problem that crosses racial and economic boundaries at will might finally bring the tragedies to enough light to re-inspire the side looking for solutions without preconceptions of morality beyond a desire to help those in dire need.

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5 minutes ago, gbear said:

As we cut social service programs because they are too expensive, I wonder how long it will be until we relearn the lessons of "Million Dollar Murray."

 

It doesn't matter if it is opioids (current epidemic), weed, crack or liquor.  The question to my mind is how serious are we about solving the problems?  One of my favorite quotes about what it takes for society to deal effectively with similar situations is "We can either be fair or effective, but we can't be both."  How do you tell the hard working single mom that society will provide a home and counselor to this troubled man while she struggles to pay rent and provide food?  Again, we can either be fair or effective.

 

As I watch so many safety nets taken down because they are too expensive for the tax payers, I find myself expecting we will pay far more in dollars and wasted lives traveling down our chosen path in the name of "fair."  There is a side of me left wondering if a problem that crosses racial and economic boundaries at will might finally bring the tragedies to enough light to re-inspire the side looking for solutions without preconceptions of morality beyond a desire to help those in dire need.

With regard to fariness, it depends who you're talking about and what your definition of fair is. So the wealthy, actual humans and corporations would say tax rates are too high and that they've borne an increasing percentage of the overall tax burden over the past 20-30 years. Wow, that's not fair you say? Well, the reason they've seen their taxes go up is that they're the ones who's incomes have increased. I'd be OK with paying more taxes if it meant I was making six figures.

 

As a country, we've repeatedly said at the ballot box that we don't want government spending money on things that save money in the long run. Instead, we'd rather pay more money to warehouse people in prisons.

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https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fdebraborchardt%2F2017%2F05%2F25%2Fnew-england-journal-of-medicine-publishes-cannabis-epilepsy-study%2F#pt0-743937

 

New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Cannabis Epilepsy Study

 

Dravet syndrome is one of the most difficult types of epilepsy to treat and many of the children in this study were experiencing dozens, even hundreds, of seizures per month despite taking multiple concurrent anti-epileptic medications,” said Orrin Devinsky, M.D., of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

 

The children in the study that took Epidiolex experienced a 39% drop in seizures versus the kids who took placebos. 43% of the patients on Epidiolex saw their seizures drop by 50%. Some patients were completely seizure free and the total monthly seizure count was “significantly reduced 

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Residents of halfway house found two men dead from overdoses — their drug counselors

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/24/halfway-house-residents-found-two-men-dead-from-overdoses-their-drug-counselors/?utm_term=.4374b4876988

 

The man's losing battle with heroin was laid out right there on the nightstand of the halfway house.

There were three morning devotionals, including “God Calling,” geared toward keeping a person's thoughts pointed heavenward. Then there was the nicotine: two packs of cigarettes, a vaporizer and a case of snus to quell cravings.

 

And near the edge: empty packets of heroin, a spoon and a syringe half full of the last hit the man would ever inject.

It was another scene in Pennsylvania's ballooning drug epidemic. But the case had a twist that shocked even the first-responders summoned to the quiet neighborhood in West Brandywine: The victim — and another dead, overdosed man in an adjacent room — were both drug counselors.

 

“If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a news release.

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Bad Footnotes Can Be Deadly

 

A one-paragraph blurb helped cause the opioid crisis. That’s just the start of science’s citation woes.

 

The New York Times reported last week that 59,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, in the latest sign that America’s prescription painkiller epidemic is only getting worse. Yet the more shocking news about the scourge of opioids came a few days earlier, in a note published in the New England Journal of Medicine by a team of researchers in Canada. That note shows how a tiny blurb that first appeared in the journal’s January 1980 issue helped reshape—and distort—conventional wisdom on pain management, tilting doctors in favor of giving out addictive drugs.

 

Back in 1979, Boston University Medical Center researchers Jane Porter and Hershel Jick found that just a handful of the patients who’d been treated with narcotics at a set of six hospitals went on to develop drug dependencies. Their single-paragraph summary of this result would be published as a letter to the editor in the NEJM under the heading, “Addiction Rare in Patients Treated With Narcotics.”

 

Back in 1979, Boston University Medical Center researchers Jane Porter and Hershel Jick found that just a handful of the patients who’d been treated with narcotics at a set of six hospitals went on to develop drug dependencies. Their single-paragraph summary of this result would be published as a letter to the editor in the NEJM under the heading, “Addiction Rare in Patients Treated With Narcotics.”


According to the recent correspondence in NEJM, this single paragraph was cited hundreds of times in the 1990s and 2000s to support the claim that prescription painkillers weren’t that addictive. It was during this period that doctors started treating pain much more aggressively than they had before and handing out potent drugs with little circumspection. (For a good history of the changing use of painkillers, see this piece in Vox.)

 

The original paragraph from Porter and Jick, just 101 words in all, read as follows:

 

Quote

Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.

 

Click on the link for the full article

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WP:Jeff Sessions personally asked Congress to let him prosecute medical marijuana providers

 

https://news.google.com/news/amp?caurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Fwonk%2Fwp%2F2017%2F06%2F13%2Fjeff-sessions-personally-asked-congress-to-let-him-prosecute-medical-marijuana-providers%2F#pt0-550222

 

Could this guy be a more willfully ignorant dickhead?

 

Sessions argued that the amendment would "inhibit [the Justice Department's] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act." He continues:

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.

Sessions's citing of a "historic drug epidemic" to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books.

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Deadly opiate drugmakers have powerful lobbies.

 

Conversely, prosecuting potheads (and the junkies created by the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries) just fills up the prisons for slave labor, which also has a powerful lobby.

 

Drainin' that swamp, baby

 

~Bang

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Should be treated like crack dealers and crack possession:

 

Drug dealers would face manslaughter charges for opioid overdoses under proposed Florida law

 

“No longer confined to small urban enclaves, heroin and fentanyl have become the scourge of communities throughout Florida, wreaking widespread devastation not only from the ravages of addiction, but the resurgence of deadly diseases associated with drug abuse,” Florida’s Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, a Democrat representing parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, wrote in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott.

Braynon added: “There is no family, no race, no ethnicity, no income level this epidemic cannot touch, and no effective state bulwark in place to stop it.”

 

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/09/drug-dealers-would-face-manslaughter-charges-for-opioid-overdoses-under-proposed-florida-law.html

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https://wonkette.com/618657/top-narc-jeff-sessions-coming-for-your-devil-weed-hippies?google_editors_picks=true

 

Top Narc Jeff Sessions Coming For Your Devil Weed, Hippies!

 

Sessions, writing under the influence of Git Tuff ideology (which is a hell of a drug), explains his reasoning thusly:

I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, his opinion, man. As Scientific American explains, that’s the sort of thing that could only be proposed by a seriously uptight dude who has no idea where his towel is. More to the point, it’s bad science, which is of course the only kind Republicans seem to have:

 

A review of the scientific literature indicates marijuana is far less addictive than prescription painkillers. A 2016 survey from University of Michigan researchers, published in the The Journal of Pain, found that chronic pain suffers who used cannabis reported a 64 percent drop in opioid use as well as fewer negative side effects and a better quality of life than they experienced under opioids. In a 2014 study reported in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors found that annual opioid overdose deaths were about 25 percent lower on average in states that allowed medical cannabis compared with those that did not.

So if Jeff Sessions wanted to really fight opioids, he might consider reading at least Scientific American, if not actual medical journals. Or as the Washington Post points out, in pursuing the wrong damn drug, Sessions could “perversely” take actions that would make the opioid epidemic worse.

 

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Chief Racist Jeff Sessions may be unintentionally right about the "long-term uptick in violent crime". Of course, he is making up an unsubstantiated claim of urban violent crime based off Chicago and Baltimore alone, and completely ignoring crime being down in every other urban major city. But considering the vast majority of this country doesn't report crime statistics to the FBI, and the vast majority of this country is rural, dealing with a drug epidemic, there very well could be a "long-term uptick in violent crime", just not in the areas Sessions is looking. 

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Michigan has more annual opioid prescriptions than people

 

Michigan doctors wrote 11 million prescriptions for opioids in 2016


By Julie Mack | jmack1@mlive.com 


How big is Michigan's issue with opioids?


Consider this: Michigan health-care providers wrote 11 million prescriptions for opioid drugs in 2015 and another 11 million in 2016 -- enough to provide every Michigan resident with his or her own bottle of narcotics, according to state data.

 

Opioids can be highly addictive, and their use and abuse is a growing issue in the United States. While the U.S. has about 5% of the world's population, it consumes about 80% of the global supply of prescription opioids.

 

Below are 11 facts about opioid use in Michigan from state and national data.

 

1. Opioid prescriptions in Michigan increased 41% between 2009 and 2015

2. Drugs from heroin and opioid overdoses have doubted since 2012

3. Opioid/heroin deaths now exceed gun and traffic fatalities

4. Overdose deaths from other drugs has stayed about the same

5. Michiganders are more likely to OD on prescription drugs vs. heroin

6. About 1 in 5 U.S. patients get painkillers from their doctor

7. Abusers of painkillers are most likely to get the drugs from friends or family
8. Michigan is slightly above average in rate of hospitalizations related to opioids
9. Michigan hospital stays related to opioids increased 21% between 2009 and 2014
10. Michigan is among the states with more opioid prescriptions than people

11. Michigan ranks 15th in drug overdose death rate
 

Click on the link for the full article and lots of pretty graphs

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Sheriff In Heart Of Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic Refuses To Carry Overdose Reversal Drug

 

Drug overdose is the leading cause of death in Butler County, Ohio, but Sheriff Richard Jones says he has no plans to equip his deputies with naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug that saves hundreds, if not thousands, of lives around the country every day.

 

Jones, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump who has expressed skepticism about naloxone in the past, reiterated his opposition in a recent interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer. Reached by HuffPost on Friday, he stood by his comments.

 

“My officers don’t carry Narcan, nor will they,” Jones said, referring to a brand name of naloxone, which is typically administered nasally and works by essentially blocking the opioid receptors that heroin, fentanyl and other narcotic painkillers target.

 

Jones cited high costs and concerns about officer safety, noting that some overdose victims revived with naloxone can be unpredictable and hostile.

In a recent interview with Ashleigh Banfield on HLN’s “Primetime Justice,” Jones said his position would change only if “the courts order” him to begin carrying naloxone.

 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/12/jeff-sessions-wants-to-make-illegal-drugs-less-potent-and-more-expensive-weve-got-some-bad-news-for-him/?utm_term=.bb12036a685e&wpisrc=nl_wonk&wpmm=1

 

Jeff Sessions wants to make illegal drugs less potent and more expensive. We’ve got some bad news for him.

 
 
 
By Christopher Ingraham July 12 at 8:55 AM
2017-06-29T144648Z_1775704847_RC146C660F90_RTRMADP_3_USA-JUSTICE-SESSIONS-4623.jpg&w=480
Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to deliver opening remarks at a summit in D.C. on June 29. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Attorney General Jeff Sessionsdelivered a lengthy speech on drug policy today at a conference for DARE(Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the anti-drug program that was big in the ’80s and ’90s.

While much of the speech was Sessions's standard law-and-order messaging, one line, about the role of the Justice Department in decreasing illicit drug use, really stood out:

Now, law enforcement is prevention. And at the Department of Justice, we are working keep drugs out of our country to reduce availability, to drive up its price, and to reduce its purity and addictiveness. [emphasis added]

This is a standard supply-side anti-drug mantra: make drugs illegal, drive up their price, make them harder to manufacture and harder to get.

Let's just check in on how that's going.

Screen-Shot-2017-07-11-at-3.21.29-PM.png
heroin-2.jpg

 

The average purity of street-level heroin seizures rose from 10 percent in 1981 to 31 percent in 2012, a threefold increase. 

Edited by Riggo-toni
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