Brainy quotes on Reason

“Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination.”  Immanuel Kant

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”  Albert Einstein

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”  Vincent Van Gogh

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”  Albert Einstein

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.”  Les Brown

“The reason I talk to myself is that I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”  George Carlin

“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.” Ernest Hemingway (American novelist, 1899-1961)

“Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance… the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.” Charles de Secondat (French philosopher, 1689-1755)

“You know, when you really connect with the instrument and everything just comes out on an emotional level very naturally through your playing. That’s, you know, a great night. And I think the reason I love touring so much is you’re chasing that high around all the time, trying to have another good night.”  Slash

“Not everything happens for a reason. Sometimes life just sucks.”  Alexa Chung

Spoke too soon…

3/15/2015, Texas school district to spend $30,000 per year on drug testing

The school board for Manor Independent School District has voted to begin drug testing their students next year and they “anticipate marijuana to be the biggest threat.”

Officials expect to spend between $25,000 and $30,000 per year on the drug testing program, even as schools around Texas struggle to obtain enough money for education.

Superintendent Kevin Brackmeyer said the district is waiting on results of an anonymous student survey to find out what drugs students are most likely to use or be pressured to use. The district hopes by randomly drug testing students it will provide a way for students to say “no.”

Things are looking up in Texas

3/22/2015, Women in north Texas work to change marijuana laws

Women as a group have been key players in many civil rights movements, and were instrumental in ending alcohol prohibition. Now a group of women are working to end the prohibition of marijuana.

Elisabeth Rodriguez has been a part of the movement to reform marijuana laws in Texas for several years now, and she heads up a group in the Dallas/Fort Worth area called the NORML Women’s Alliance…

“Cannabis has been shown to help many of the autoimmune disorders that affect women more than men. Women are being incarcerated at a higher rate than men for non violent drug offenses,” Rodriguez says. “There are all sorts of issues surrounding parenting and cannabis use, and parents being able to use cannabis to treat their children.”

Over one million women are enduring some form of the criminal justice system. The female prison population grew by 832 percent from 1977 to 2007. The male prison population grew 416 percent during the same time period…

“The women’s alliance focuses on women’s issues, but we welcome people of any gender who are interested in the subject. You certainly don’t have to identify as female to be a part of the group.”

Meet My First Underground Drug Dealer

When I mention to a New Mexican that I’m from Texas, many ask why I moved here. When I say the reason was marijuana or medical cannabis, the responses I get range from slightly curious to maybe a little giggle and a knowing grin.  (New Mexicans don’t think weed is that big of a deal, unlike in Texas.)

That’s how I met my first underground drug dealer in New Mexico, when I mentioned I was in the Medical Cannabis Program and the difficulties I was having finding quality medicine for an affordable price.  Of course, my first drug dealers in New Mexico were actually the legal dispensaries, as anyone who sells drugs is a drug dealer, legal or not.  My long-term drug dealers in Texas were doctors and Walgreens.

After I had performed my due diligence on my new treatment option; after six months in this state’s program; after I had figured out how to collect and analyze the information to assess the new treatment and my progress; after my money situation began to look rather concerning — after all this, I was feeling quite frantic.  My experiment was not turning out as I had hoped, and it was apparent at that point that I could not afford to be a member of the Medical Cannabis Program in New Mexico.  I could not believe that after all my research and hard work in moving to another state, I was faced with failure.

So, the next time my neighbor happened to mention his connections, I thought, well, I need to at least experiment with the alternatives.  Even though my long-term plan is to move to Colorado, I am going to be stuck in this beautiful state for quite some time.  I can think about suicide or I can think about alternative ways to purchase my preferred treatment for pain.

My neighbor — my first underground drug dealer in New Mexico — was in his early twenties.  He moved on many months ago, which is why I feel free to mention him now.  For the purposes of this story, let’s call him Dean.

Dean said he was a veteran, dishonorably discharged, but he said a lot of things that turned out to be untrue.  But he also said he suffered from drug addiction, which I believe was true.  Once in conversation, he mentioned he was having difficulty accessing methadone maintenance treatment, but he didn’t say why.

Dean had four different jobs at call centers in the time that I knew him (one of the few jobs available in this state), which was less than a year.  And Dean had an anger problem, which was periodically on display in my front yard, when he and his girlfriend would fight, or when he yelled at his dog.  (Ironically, he was one of only a few dog owners who pick up after their pet.) But Dean was always nice to me, and I was always nice to him (and his dog).  (His girlfriend usually didn’t give me the time of day, so I didn’t have to be nice to her, the snob.)

One irritating habit that Dean had was knocking on my door and asking to bum a cigarette.  He didn’t really smoke that much, but I noticed when he was a little manic, a cigarette was one of the ways he self-medicated.  The first handful of times, I said, sure, and gave him a couple at a time. One day he woke me up from a nap with this request, and I said sure, for 25 cents.  He knocked on my door one more time for a cigarette, but he only had 15 cents.  At least he was trying, so I said sure.  After that, he didn’t try to bum a cigarette again.

Eventually, Dean and I agreed to… let’s call them exchanges.  Dean didn’t sell drugs, he just had connections.  He was just a middleman.  The middleman usually doesn’t make much money in these deals, if any, but he gets to enjoy free samples, maintaining his habit for very little expense.

We started small, and the first exchange wasn’t bad. But I got ripped off the second time — that exchange was definitely uneven.  The next few times were good, which I can describe as including both quality and affordability.  At that point, the underground won the price battle against the legal dispensaries — by quite a wide margin.  Not that I stopped trying to make the legal program work for me.  You know, until I ran out of money.

The next and last time Dean I made an exchange, the rip off was quite apparent.  And I let him know about it.  He wasn’t happy and stormed out, later pounding on my door a few times.  After that, we never spoke again.  He moved out a few months later.

This was last year, months before my renewal was due, and months before my car needed a major repair.  And months before Unum would terminate my long term disability insurance benefits.  Maybe I thought I would leave some of my bad luck in Texas, but it appears I brought it with me.  I sure hope none of it rubbed off on Dean.

Before now, I’ve been very careful not to mention my activities in the underground whenever I post things on the internet.  It could be used against me by Unum, and who knows, maybe even Social Security.  But Unum can use anything against me, like the fact that I’m still breathing, or heck, maybe even that I’m Irish.  Another reason to keep quiet is for the safety of those who help out pain patients like me.  And of course, the police could be knocking on my door tomorrow… although why they would care is beyond me.

But I know how many pain patients are struggling in this state and all across this country.  I’ve read many comments from people my age who don’t know how to access the underground, even though that’s the only way to find medical cannabis in their state.  Not that I have the answers — just experiences.

Also, I want pain patients to understand that if you’re going to move to another state for medical cannabis, there are many problems that will arise — problems that may be unexpected. And for pain patients who are switching from prescription drugs to medical cannabis, you need to be aware of the costs involved.  Compared to Oxy and Vicodin, marijuana is not cheap.

I don’t know if this story and all the information I post will help others, but that’s what I’m hoping for.  And if the police don’t come and get me for trying to stay alive through constant pain, I’ll try to continue the stories of my underground drug dealers in the hope that it will help a pain patient, somewhere, navigate access to cannabis… maybe even in Texas.

Voices from the drug war

Marty Miller · Counselor at Boston Rescue Mission
It is about time that anyone caught selling this fraud. Calling something heroin when it is fact fentanyl is purposely increasing the risk of death to someone should be classified as Murder. Being a former Heroin addict I can remember in the mid 70’s Fentanyl was sometimes sold on the streets as Fentanyl. At least you knew what you were getting and could exercise extreme caution. There was honor among thieves. That was then this is now. I would ask that anyone who know people that are selling this junk make sure that they receive justice for murdering our friends, neighbors and family. I recently lost my best friend of 49 yeas and I would bet that he unexpectedly and unwittingly came across this junk. I would love to find out where it came from. People are dying because of this. So if you see something say something………..
Reply · · March 19 at 11:41pm

Lea Heidman · Owner at McDonalds
I lost my 21 year old daughter to this the day this was published. She wanted to live
Reply · · March 24 at 7:16pm

Carla Cheshire · Top Commenter · Boone, North Carolina
There are a lot of misconceptions about drug use and Fentanyl in particular. I am a chronic pain patient and have been using Fentanyl patches for over 10 years. They are an absolute Godsend for me. I was unable to function at all due to failed back surgery and debilitating pain and with this drug I have been able to have a much better life. I am on the same dosage for 8 years and not craving more or going out to get more. I am physically dependent on this medication for it’s use of blocking pain, I am not an addict…

Even In Female Dominated Nursing, Men Earn More

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.  The report in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association found that even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing out-earned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals…  The biggest disparity was for nurse anesthetists, with men earning $17,290 more…

Ulrike Muench of the University of California-San Francisco, the study’s lead author, said in an interview that the data do not suggest why men earn more, although “some have suggested men have better negotiating skills” and are able to start out earning higher salaries.

Jennifer Stewart, who oversees nursing and other workforce issues at the health research group The Advisory Board, agrees that’s one possibility. “Also maybe some gender discrimination,” she adds.

A lot of employers believe that men don’t have a choice but to work, while women can stay home and raise kids.  Most employers are men who think all other men are supporting a wife and family. Meaning, men need more money than women.  It used to be that way, a long, long time ago…

Why Don’t Animals Get Schizophrenia (and How Come We Do)?

But the science does suggest that numerous non-human species suffer from psychiatric symptoms. Birds obsess; horses on occasion get pathologically compulsive; dolphins and whales—especially those in captivity—self-mutilate. And that thing when your dog woefully watches you pull out of the driveway from the window—that might be DSM-certified separation anxiety…

But there’s at least one mental malady that, while common in humans, seems to have spared all other animals: schizophrenia…

It turns out psychosis may be an unfortunate cost of our big brains—of higher, complex cognition…

They also found that these culprit genes are involved in various essential human neurological functions within the PFC, including the synaptic transmission of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA serves as an inhibitor or regulator of neuronal activity, in part by suppressing dopamine in certain parts of the brain, and it’s impaired transmission is thought to be involved in schizophrenia. If GABA malfunctions, dopamine runs wild, contributing to the hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking common to psychosis. In other words, the schizophrenic brain lacks restraint.

As does the brain of someone suffering from drug addiction.

“It’s been suggested,” Dudley explains, “that the emergence of human speech and language bears a relationship with schizophrenia genetics, and incidentally also autism. Indeed, language dysfunction is a feature of schizophrenia, and GABA is critical to speech, language and many other aspects of higher-order cognition…

Put another way, with complicated, highly social human thought—and the complicated genetics at the root of higher cognition—perhaps there’s just more that can go wrong: complex function begets complex malfunction…

Under comments:

DRHX March 25, 2015, 4:46 PM
Animals don’t get schizophrenia? Have you ever lived with a cat?