Spending bill blocks D.C. sale of bud


In a blow to the District of Columbia, Congress would block sales of marijuana but allow city officials to implement a law approved by voters last month that allows for possession of up to two ounces of pot and home cultivation of up to three mature cannabis plants.

Reid told reporters Tuesday that he opposes putting any restrictions on the District’s new marijuana program, but conceded that it may be difficult to remove such language from the final bill.

Long-term painkiller use on the rise, with more patients taking dangerous combos



Nearly half the people who took the painkillers for over 30 days in the study’s first year were still using them three years later, a sign of potential abuse.

When was it determined that more than three years of use is a sign of potential abuse?  And please keep in mind, “potential” abuse is not “actual” abuse.  But apparently, according to Express Scripts, these two words mean the same thing.

The report, released on Tuesday by the pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, found that nearly 60 percent of patients taking the painkillers to treat long-term conditions were also being prescribed muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety drugs that could cause dangerous reactions.

“Not only are more people using these medications chronically, they are using them at higher doses than we would necessarily expect,” said Dr. Glen Stettin, a senior vice president at Express Scripts. “And they are using them in combinations for which there isn’t a lot of clinical justification.”

Dr. Stettin gets to determine what is considered a “higher” dose (compared to what?), and also gets to completely disregard the view of chronic pain patients.  Just because there hasn’t been enough research done on long-term opioid use, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a “clinical justification” for this treatment.

With few exceptions, patients who are taking an opioid painkiller should not be prescribed other drugs with a sedative effect, such as muscle relaxants or benzodiazepines, because of a risk that the combined drugs could slow down the respiratory system.

Pain patients take a combination of drugs for a lot of reasons, but it looks like muscle relaxers and benzodiazepines will no longer be available to treat chronic pain.  I guess pain patients are stuck with anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, anti-psychotics, and any other off-label drugs that Big Pharma creates.

And 27 percent were taking more than one opioid at a time, another hazardous combination… Dr. Stettin said patients with chronic pain should be receiving longer-acting drugs that work round the clock. But the study found that about half of those patients were taking short-acting opioids. 

So, no more short-acting meds for break-through pain, or in case a patient cannot tolerate the side effects of the long-acting drugs… just great…

“It begs for the use of active monitoring and also for better coordination of care,” he said.

Hey, doctor, are you an investor in a medical device company?

The rate of drug addiction in the medical and dental profession is higher than in the general population… And I think it’s time that doctors were also monitored, drug tested, and treated like criminals.

Religion and Medicine don’t mix


The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a religious freedom bill that might potentially allow emergency medical personnel to exercise religious objections to treating gay patients…

For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.

I like winter

One of the best things about winter is the increased quiet outside… As I listen to the extremely loud and irritating noises coming from the guys taking care of the apartment grounds today, I thought, well, it’ll be nice to hear less of that for the next couple of months.  Looks like I’m learning how to be less of a pessimist. 🙂

Non-Traditional Roles of a Pharmacist (2014)

Click to access NonTraditional_Roles_of_a_Pharmacist_Final-1-.pdf

“In New Mexico, all of the interventions discussed in this study have been implemented for years, and have improved the health outcomes of New Mexico patients.

Dr. Ernie Dole, Pharm. D, manages ambulatory care patients with chronic pain and participates
on an inpatient Pain Service at UNMH.

Class-action suit claims Comcast forces residential customers to pay for its public wi-fi hotspots

What to do when I’m finally released from my Verizon contract?  Because I don’t have a patio for a satellite dish, it looks like my only other option here in New Mexico is Comcast…


“Last March, we told you how Comcast’s then-newest Xfinity routers automatically set up a second wi-fi network — wide open and available for anyone within range.”

Military Vets OK With Pot, Docs Less Certain


On the other hand, 62% of the physician respondents suggested that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency should “reclassify and remove marijuana from the list of schedule I drugs and should legalize it for recreational use,” Mahajan and Takahashi stated.

Both studies were presented at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry annual meeting.

Pain Complaints, Opioid Use Higher With Epilepsy

First they came for chronic pain patients.  Then cancer patients.  Then epileptics…


But the bottom line, he said, was that the relatively high frequency of opioid use among the epilepsy patients deserves more research in order to identify the reasons and to determine the extent to which it is or is not appropriate.

He conducted the study with researchers from the Accordant Health Services unit of CVS Caremark, which funded the analysis.