The Education and Rehabilitation of At-Risk Juveniles

Click to access EducationAtRiskJuveniles.pdf

Phoenix House Academy Descanso (CA)

Even though the Descanso facility is promoted as a voluntary drug treatment center, the Grand Jury’s visit disclosed mostly involuntary commitments. On the date of the Grand Jury’s visit there were 24 boys and 14 girls. Some of the commitments are through the Drug Court (San Diego Juvenile Court) and some of them are through private or family placement.

County and governmental agency funding makes up 98% of the budget and private donations make up the remainder. Staff counselors are private contractors trained by the national Phoenix House group. The Phoenix House model is a national program that integrates residential treatment with on-site school instruction. Throughout the country more than 150 Phoenix House programs provide a broad array of treatment, prevention, and recovery services and treat more than 17,000 adults and adolescents each year.
11/19/2013:  The Phoenix House has been a not-for-profit behavioral healthcare provider since 1972 and provides more than 123 programs in 11 states. Currently, the Phoenix House has 6,000 men, women and teens at its various facilities.

Gov. Martinez Announces New Mexico’s Participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, National Drug Take Back Day has helped to successfully remove more than 3.4 million pounds, or 1,733 tons, of prescription medication from circulation. The New Mexico Department of Health reports 486 New Mexicans died of a drug overdose in 2012, a seven percent decrease from 2011.

No list of the different drugs that were taken out of circulation?  Because I find it hard to believe that most of the 3.4 million pounds of “prescription medication” was actually pain medications.

Governor Martinez has declared the year 2014 “New Mexico’s Crisis of Preventable Overdose Deaths,” to encourage all New Mexicans to get involved in advocating for reducing preventable overdose deaths among family, friends, and neighbors. 

“While prescription drugs and other medications, including over-the-counter medicine, can be beneficial when taken properly, they also pose potential health risks when misused,” said Department of Health (DOH) Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Our primary focus needs to be on prevention. We must focus our efforts with health care providers and the public on reducing the misuse of prescription pain medication, which is often the gateway to addiction.”

Using the words “gateway” and “often” suggests everyone who uses prescription pain medication is at risk for misuse and abuse, and that’s not true.  And if you want to prevent prescription pain medication abuse, perhaps the Department of Health could find a better way to manage chronic pain… Like administering a Medical Cannabis Program that gives access — for ALL patients — to an additional treatment method at an affordable price.

But keep in mind, Ms. Ward, that medical cannabis is not for all patients.  Your friends in the medical industry will have to come up with more treatment options for pain — those that are covered by insurance and, oh yeah, that actually work.

UCLA researchers excited by Alzheimer’s findings

“Long-term memory is not stored at the synapse,” said David Glanzman, a senior author of the study, and a UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology and of neurobiology. “That’s a radical idea, but that’s where the evidence leads. The nervous system appears to be able to regenerate lost synaptic connections. If you can restore the synaptic connections, the memory will come back. It won’t be easy, but I believe it’s possible.”

As long-term memories are formed, the brain creates new proteins that are involved in making new synapses. If something happens to disrupt this process – for example by a concussion or other injury — the proteins may not be synthesized and long-term memories cannot form. This is why people cannot remember what happened moments before a concussion.

But what does this have to do with Alzheimer’s disease? Glanzman says he believes his team has shown that memories are not stored in synapses but elsewhere in the brain – most likely in neurons. So when damaged synapses are restored, there would be restored access to those memories.

Enter Cannabis?  All the research so far points to the neuroprotective benefits from medical cannabis for conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including for brain trauma:

Oct. 2014, Effect of marijuana use on outcomes in traumatic brain injury.

A positive THC screen is associated with decreased mortality in adult patients sustaining TBI.

Another manufactured epidemic…

12/19/2014, Long-Term Benzo Use Rampant in Older Patients

Long-term use — defined as filled prescriptions for supplies of at least 120 days — also rose with age.

That’s an awfully small amount of time to define as “long-term use.”  How silly does this look: Long-Term Insulin Use Rampant in Diabetics?  Is it only defined as long-term use if the drug is treating a mental condition, like anxiety?   (Or using opioids to treat a chronic pain condition?)

Olfson and colleagues suggested that, because of these factors, many older patients are effectively addicted to benzodiazepines and their physicians should seek to withdraw them.

“Effectively addicted”?  Is this a new term?  You’ll notice that this article never mentions what the problem is… As long as the medical industry can say “this patient is addicted,” then you’re automatically in need of some kind of treatment, but for what?  Just for the use of the drug? What were the adverse conditions happening in this patient population in regards to benzos?

“The next step is to consider them the same as other dangerous addictive substances and put them on a tight dispensation schedule using limited-duration prescriptions with no refills,” Moore and colleagues wrote. “Such barriers could help the public and prescribers think more about these risks before prescribing or using benzodiazepines.”

Okay, it’s time for the medical industry to come after benzos… Hey, benzos, the opioids say, “Welcome to the party!”

Olfson and colleagues asserted that most clinicians are aware of guidelines cautioning against long-term benzodiazepines in geriatric patients, but many don’t believe that it “poses a serious clinical threat.”

Okay, so there’s a serious clinical threat — that’s the case with almost every drug.  But where’s the information that says there’s an actual problem in older patients?

The Slippery Slope: A Bittersweet Diabetes Economy

But the number of people with diabetes or pre-diabetes and who are candidates for drugs has been magnified by organizations and doctors with financial ties to drug companies, the MedPage Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found…

Many of the new drugs approved by the FDA can cause serious side effects, including heart problems, cancers, and overdoses leading to an estimated 100,000 emergency room visits each year by people with dangerously low blood sugar, according to published research, interviews, and other data reviewed for this story…

In recent years, the FDA has increasingly relied on “surrogate” measures when approving new drugs. In heart disease, that can mean relying on better numbers on a cholesterol test rather than reductions in actual heart attacks. In cancer, it can mean relying on the shrinkage of tumors, rather than the drug actually increasing survival.

An earlier MedPage Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that 74% of 54 new cancer drugs allowed on the market between 2004 and 2013 were approved based on surrogate measures.

Surrogate endpoints are attractive to both industry and regulators because they provide a faster, less expensive pathway to marketing approval than clinical trials that ask if a drug decreases the number of heart attacks, kidney failure, or death. The reason is simple: clinical trials that rely on those hard endpoints take years longer and require many thousands of patients…

For years, a mantra in the diabetes community has been a concept known as tight or intensive glycemic control. It means using drugs to drive blood sugar levels down to more acceptable levels.

But recent research has shown that attempting to tightly control glucose can increase the risk of hypoglycemia and its complications — seizure, unconsciousness, or death.

Often, it is older people who are the most susceptible to hypoglycemia.

A 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine of people with an average age of 77 showed that 404,000 patients were admitted to the hospital because of hypoglycemia between 1999 and 2011, compared with 280,000 for hyperglycemia. Five percent, or 20,000 people, died within 30 days of their hypoglycemia admission. The study was based on Medicare data…

Doctors say the convergence of new drugs and the expanded definitions for diabetes and pre-diabetes has led to an over-medicalization of blood sugar disorders.

Pain Clinic Doctor Is Sentenced in Overdose Deaths of 2 Patients

The manslaughter convictions against Dr. Li were unusual for New York State, where doctors who are caught providing drugs to addicts are usually charged with criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance.

Express Scripts drops Gilead hep C drugs for cheaper AbbVie rival

But it has agreed to a significantly lower price than Gilead for Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary, a list of approved and covered drugs for 25 million Americans, Express Scripts Chief Medical Officer Steve Miller said in an interview.

Military Hospital Care Is Questioned; Next, Reprisals

Dr. Russell Hicks, a psychiatrist, said Madigan Army Medical Center outside Tacoma, Wash., revoked his credentials this year after he identified serious flaws in a program to screen soldiers for post-traumatic stress. “I did what I knew, and I still know, was right, and they went after me,” he said. He has appealed the decision…

But few cases trigger such high-level scrutiny. Dr. Gayle Humm, an emergency room physician under contract at Evans Army Community Hospital in Colorado, said she refused to prescribe narcotic painkillers for patients she suspected were addicted. When some patients complained, her supervisor told her that “the only thing that mattered was that the numbers were affecting his promotion,” she said…

Dr. Bastianelli objected that women in labor were denied epidural anesthesia, violating ethics and policy.