California, #3 on list of States Where People Live Longest

10/7/2013, California drug overdoses rise, but state fares better than many

The number of drug-overdose deaths in California — most of which are from prescription medications — increased by 31 percent from 1999 to 2010, according to a new report.

However, the Golden State fared better than many states with the 15th lowest drug-overdose mortality rate in the U.S., with 10.6 per 100,000 people suffering fatal overdoses in 2010, according to “Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic,” which was released by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health. And while most states received a score of 6 or less, California rated an 8 on a scale of 10 for “promising indicators” of strategies to curb prescription drug abuse, the report found.

Oh no, who the heck is Trust for America’s Health?  Another federally-funded anti-drug group?

While California has an active prescription-drug monitoring program called CURES for certain controlled substances, it does not require — as 16 other states currently do — mandatory use by its prescribers, the report noted. The state also does not have a law requiring or permitting a pharmacist to mandate identification prior to dispensing a controlled substance.

I find it hard to believe that you can pick up a prescription in California without an ID.  How would that even work?

The state was given points for many indicators, including having a “doctor-shopping law” and a “good Samaritan law.” The first prohibits patients from withholding information about prior prescriptions from their health care providers, while the latter provides some immunity or lessening of a sentence for those seeking to help themselves or others experiencing an overdose.

So, I wonder what the punishment is for lying to your health care provider?

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills last month aiming to curb prescription-drug abuse. The first, SB 670, allows the state medical board to inspect and copy medical records of a deceased patient without a court order or the consent of next of kin. The second, SB 809, increases practitioners’ licensing fees in order to fund an overhaul of the CURES database, which some doctors consider too complex.

Okay, even when you’re dead, you don’t have any privacy.

April Rovero of San Ramon lost her 21-year-old son Joseph “Joey” John Rovero III in December 2009, when the Arizona State University student died from a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. The Rowland Heights doctor who prescribed Joey the drugs is now facing second-degree murder charges for that death and those of two other young men.

My god, more murder charges…

Rovero, founder of National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse…

Here’s your epidemic:  People who have lost loved ones in the drug war behaving and being treated as experts.

A third bill, SB 62, was vetoed by the governor over funding concerns and would have required county coroners to notify the medical board any time they determine a death was caused by a narcotic. Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance, who authored the bill, said he’ll be checking to see whether coroners would be willing to do this voluntarily.

Oh, jesus christ, bringing coroners into the drug war… what next?

Well, at least there’s no specific mention of blaming pain patients in this article — just an inference.

Do you believe in conspiracies?

Hawaii, number one on the list where people live the longest (see post on Minnesota, number two on the list), reported almost the same thing that Minnesota reported (along with using statistics in the same way):

6/9/2014, Overdoses tops list of Hawaii injury deaths

HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii health officials say more people are dying from drug overdoses than car crashes in the state.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports 150 people died of overdoses in 2012 and most were unintentional.

Data released last week by Dan Galanis, the state Department of Health’s epidemiologist for its Injury Prevention Program, indicate 773 people died from drug poisonings from 2009 to 2013.

Galanis says the state’s second leading cause of death over the five-year period was falls, with 685 victims. Motor vehicle accidents claimed 618 lives.

Hawaii experts say there’s a lack of public awareness about how serious drug overdoses have become.

Galanis says overdoses from narcotic painkillers have contributed to the surge as powerful drugs are prescribed to deal with long-term, chronic pain.

I hate to say it, but it looks like the CDC — in cahoots with state departments of health (and along with the DEA) — is running around the U.S. bad-mouthing chronic pain patients… And I don’t understand why the CDC is saying chronic pain patients caused this problem, when it knows that’s not true.

Man, what did I ever do to the CDC?  Does the DEA have power over the CDC?  WTF?

If I start believing in conspiracy theories, does that mean I’ve turned into a Republican? 😀

10/2/2014, Surge in Minnesota drug overdose deaths worries health, public safety officials

In 2013, the Health Department reported, 507 Minnesotans died of all types of drug overdoses including 329 in the 11-county metro area. Deaths from prescribed pain relievers — and illegal heroin, a close cousin in the opiate family — accounted for many of them. By comparison, 374 Minnesotans died in motor vehicle accidents…

The Minnesota findings mirror a national study, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that confirm widespread public exposure to prescription drugs and increasing rates of opiate addiction.

Because “public exposure to prescription drugs and increasing rates of opiate addiction” equal an epidemic?

Heroin deaths have increased sharply in many states, the CDC said, but nearly twice as many people died from prescription drug overdoses as from heroin. In Minnesota, 200 people died from overdosing on prescribed pain relievers in 2013; 91 died from overdosing on heroin.

The CDC study of 2012 deaths, published in this week’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” also concluded that while most prescription drug abusers don’t become heroin users, “heroin often costs less than prescription [drugs] and is increasingly available.”

So, ipso facto, now pain patients are potential heroin users.  The CDC is really starting to piss me off…

Minnesota was one of 28 states studied. The Minnesota Health Department findings showed that since 2000, nearly 5,000 people statewide have died from overdoses.

When you choose to use statistics that cover a period of time like a decade, it makes the number of deaths look a lot higher.  Let’s look at some other statistics from Minnesota, shall we?

Click to access 1205healthofminnesotasupp.pdf

Injury is the leading cause of death for children and young adults in Minnesota, but deaths are a
small proportion of the impact of injury. For every one injury death, there are three severe
traumas (including brain and spinal cord injuries), ten other hospitalized injuries, and 100
injuries that result in emergency department treatment only.

Injuries may be intentional (the result of violence) or unintentional. The leading causes of
unintentional injury-related deaths in Minnesota between 2000 and 2009 were falls, motor
vehicle crashes and poisoning. When all intent is factored into injury, then self-inflicted firearm
injuries rank third and self-inflicted poisoning ranks sixth in overall injury-related mortality.

Every day, approximately one Minnesotan dies and another is injured from a firearm. Firearms
are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury death in Minnesota. Nearly three-fourths
of firearm-related deaths are suicides, however, rather than assaults or unintentional injuries on
another person… Minnesota’s suicide rate has been steadily climbing in the last ten years, from a low of 8.9 per 100,000 in 2000 to 11.1 per 100,000 in 2010. While many people assume that suicide rates are highest among teenagers, males over the age of 35 actually have the highest rates of suicide.

Now, back to our story…

Many of those drug deaths involved accidental poisonings and suicides, but a growing number of cases were prosecuted as third-degree murder after investigators found that the sale of a drug led to an overdose death.

More drug war victims… If the criminal injustice system is going to charge people with selling a product that killed someone else, then it’s time to charge gun manufacturers/sellers, isn’t it?

That was the case in Washington County this winter when Emily Frye, of Oakdale, was convicted and sent to prison for seven years for selling 23 methadone pills to a Scandia man who overdosed and died…

This is just… tragic.

In Hennepin County, prosecutors have charged seven people in the past 32 months with third-degree murder in overdose deaths…

Minnesota’s prescription drug problem evolved from overtreating chronic pain, said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. Aggressive marketing of painkilling drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin also led to the widespread availability of opiates.

So, the Board of Pharmacy — the “executive director” of Minnesota’s drug distribution network — has decided he knows what causes drug problems?  Seriously, wherever you go, drug abuse and addiction is being blamed on pain patients…

With Minnesota all concerned about drug overdose deaths, specifically, isn’t it funny that the state ended up as #2 on this list:

12/27/2014, States Where People Live Longest

2. Minnesota

Only Minnesota and Hawaii had a life expectancy at birth of more than 81 years as of 2010. Low levels of obesity and drug-related deaths, combined with a high rate of health insurance, all likely contributed to the extended life expectancies in the state. However, Minnesotans were more likely than people in other states to binge drink. Last year, 21% of adults consumed alcohol at an unhealthy level, among the highest rates in the country.

Funny, nowhere in the Statewide Health Assessment (2012) by the Department of Health does it mention anything about alcohol.  But there’s a whole section on “Prescription Drug Poisoning.”  (“Partial funding for this project was provided by the following… the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…”)

A little good news goes a long way :)

Girls are finally helping build the toy industry

What toy manufacturers are learning is that girls like to build skyrockets and ships just as much as boys do but the color scheme might be what has been missing…

Why are girls wanting to build more now? The reason could be the change in family structure. More dads are at home and partaking in childcare. Parents are also more open to gender equality and if a boy wants to paint his toenails, they are more open to the experimentation of it. The same goes for females that might want to get a Builder Bob toy as opposed to a Dress-Up Barbie.

“Parents are telling kids it’s OK to be different,” said analyst Michael Swartz, research analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Swartz explained that Hasbro has introduced an Easy Bake Oven with a color scheme more appealing to boys.

8/5/2014, Women ordered to stop praying inside mall

12/26/2014, Is It Legal to Crack Down on #BlackLivesMatter Protest Leaders?

3/23/2014, A dying breed: The American shopping mall

Some Genius Is Trying to Open a McDonald’s Inside a Church

Citing oft-reported statistics—three million people left their church in the U.S. in 2012, and 10,000 American churches shuttered their doors last year alone—Di Lucca argues that the only way to reverse the troubling trend is for those churches to partner with one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

They Said It On Marijuana, Quotable Saturday, Part XLIII

My comment (which I would not have published here if the comment wasn’t still on “hold” in Disqus — some people have no sense of humor…):

“On a somewhat related note, cannabis is either legal or widely tolerated in North Korea.”
I hope that bud is not the reason that North Koreans accept their fate in that country…

Although, so many governments fear uprisings — including our own — that you’d think marijuana legalization would be the first thing on their to-do list. (Because, you know, bud makes you lazy.)

And didn’t Nancy Grace marry Rush Limbaugh? Or were they just doing “legal” drugs together?

Empathy and Emotion are words that describe Pain

From “Body Sense” Psychology Today: So, if physical and emotional pain have similar neural signatures, why not take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for grief, loss, or despair? People who had experienced a recent social rejection were randomly assigned to take acetaminophen vs. a placebo daily for three weeks. The people in the acetaminophen condition reported fewer hurt feelings during that period. When their brains were scanned at the end of the treatment period, the acetaminophen takers had less activation in the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.

What is it called when you have too much empathy?

*It seems that most cultures value empathy enough that it’s unlikely to be viewed as a disorder. In fact, even the most extreme examples of empathy (complete self sacrifice) are often considered admirable things in books and movies.

*Yes there is a condition which often causes extreme acts of empathy. Its the hero disease: extreme altruism, x-altruism or pathological altruism. Its not in DSM 5. x-altruism occurs when people are compelled to act on the basic feelings of empathy or sympathy they have toward others. Its common among police officers, firefighters and soldiers who have received the Purple Heart Medal as well as other high risk jobs which frequently place themselves in harms way to help others.

Unlike a normal person the x-altruist cannot resist the urge of empathy and will do seemingly irrational things to fulfill their need to help others. x-altruist are not perfect people but they do extraordinary things for the good of other people.

*I experience empathy to the extent that it causes massive social phobia and other such problems. Other human beings end up being a constant sort of noise even when they’re silent and being around them too often drains me of all my energy, but I don’t actually produce my own emotions a lot of the time (or I can’t recognize them as well not sure) so being left alone causes me an extreme feeling of emptiness and leads to massive depression. No medical health professionals have ever listened when I’ve brought it up as a potential problem. They tend to tell me not to worry about it and seek other causes for my anxiety instead of trying to help me learn to cope with it. I would say it’s problematic especially in the sense that no one takes it seriously. I mean it’s seen as such an unerringly positive thing that normal people cannot possibly imagine it being detrimental in any way but it is.

Empathy and Racism / The Social Pyramid

A recent study shows that people, including medical personnel, assume black people feel less pain than white people…

Consider disparities in treatment for pain. We’ve known for at least two decades that minorities, primarily blacks and Hispanics, receive inadequate pain medication. Often this failure comes when people need help the most. For example, an early study of this disparity revealed that minorities with recurrent or metastatic cancer were less likely to have adequate analgesia. Racial disparities in pain management have been recorded in the treatment of migraines and back pain, cancer care in the elderly, and children with orthopedic fractures. A 2008 review of 13 years of national survey data on emergency room visits found that for a pain-related visit, an opioid prescription was more likely for white patients (31 percent) than black patients (23 percent).

Some of the problem is structural. We’ve also known for some time that pharmacies in nonwhite communities fail to adequately stock opioids. In a 2005 study, Michigan pharmacies in white communities were 52 times more likely to sufficiently stock opioids than in nonwhite communities. But this does not fully explain the problem. When pain medicine is available, minorities receive less of it. Medical personnel may care deeply about treating the pain of minorities. Even so, they might recognize less of it—and this may explain why the pain is so poorly treated.

Want to be normal? Act normal.

It’s not so easy to act normal when you’re in constant pain — it is exhausting.  Which is why people who have to constantly strive to act normal sometimes retreat and become isolated — it’s easier and less stressful.

But hiding in the closet is not good for anybody… There is no shame in being different, just like there is no shame in having a medical condition that needs to be managed with drugs.