“I don’t look at her like she’s a bad girl. She just misunderstood sometime, she’s a little troubled, she’s a little dysfunctional. She’s a survivor.”  Aida Turturro

“I’m a big fan of the misunderstood, the vilified, the underdog, the breaking of myths.”  Dominic Monaghan

“The really good idea is always traceable back quite a long way, often to a not very good idea which sparked off another idea that was only slightly better, which somebody else misunderstood in such a way that they then said something which was really rather interesting.” John Cleese

“If I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.”  Alan Greenspan

(Photo taken 8/19/2015.)


“Maybe it’s stress or anger or adrenaline or disillusionment or a bullying nature or simple fear of getting killed themselves, but there is a problem if a cop cannot tell the difference between a menacing gangster and the far more common person they encounter whose life is a little frayed and messy.”  David Horsey

“Ignorance is a menace to peace.”  Paul Harris

“In the clashes between ignorance and intelligence, ignorance is generally the aggressor.” Paul Harris

(Photo taken 8/19/2015.)

Study: Four Percent of Butterflies Addicted to Grape Pollen


WASHINGTON, DC — Researchers at the Institute For The Preservation Of Butterflies (IFTPOB) have released a report about a subset of butterflies who suffer from drug addiction, specifically to grape-flavored pollen.

Most of the colorless and light-colored butterflies in this patient population suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety, especially in social situations with other butterflies. They are sometimes shunned by both their families and the rest of butterfly society because of their lack of color. Many also suffer from a condition called Hairymyalgia, which creates painful and unflattering side effects, including the growth of unwanted body hair.

Grape pollen has been known throughout history as a successful treatment for butterflies who suffer from chronic pain, so lots of purple flowers have been specifically planted for this purpose. But many of these patients have ended up spending all their time drinking purple nectar, finally turning their backs on the society that has shunned them. As you can imagine, those privileged enough to be in society don’t like being ignored.

The IFTPOB researchers estimate that about 4% of the butterfly population suffer from Grape Pollen Syndrome and are declaring it an epidemic, even though grape pollen is not a harmful drug. They are also raising alarms about a similar problem in the bee population. Their recommendations to the Bug Medical Board include banning all flowers that have any hint of purple in them (and maybe blue, too).

The Bug Medical Board has yet to respond to the IFTPOB, citing its requirement to discuss the matter with the DEA first.

(Photo taken 8/27/2015.)

Lack of strain variety in Colorado?


Under comments:

Joe • 5 days ago
One major drawback on legal weed vs black market weed is variety. This is a direct result of policy, at least in Colorado. I am not talking about the cartels per say, but the black market in general.

Marijuana is not a native plant to the state, so all seeds in the state arrived illegally, or as a result of a federal crime.

In Colorado the state allowed limited window for strains to become registered with the state, essentially forgiving the federal trafficking crime that had been committed.

This “forgiveness” period did not last a long time, and after the window closed the only new strains in the state where the result of crossing of pre registered strains. All new marijuana dispensaries whether recreational or medical have to buy their seeds from a preexisting dispensary that is growing registered strains.

Medically speaking many landrace, or native strains of marijuana have very consistent effects, and a rich history of medical use. However some of these strains are not available to either the medical market, or the recreational market in Colorado because they were not registered during the forgiveness period.

It is true you can find candy, soda, lotion, and all kind of other stuff. But most of the sales in the state of Colorado are basically 10 or so strains.

Most of these have been hybridized for shorter grow periods, growth habits that are easier to control indoors, and indoor environment adaption qualities.

– A Colorado Medical Marijuana Patient

Joe to Inanimate Carbon Rods • 5 days ago
I almost opened my own dispensary, took business classes, learned the operating laws, and lined up financing. The plan was to only grow landrace native varieties, offer education about their social, medical, and religious uses and call it Wild Strains.

It turns out this plan won’t work because of the states strain registery. Unless you want to learn about Pakistan Valley or Afghani Indica…

Landrace or 100% Sativa varieties are harder to grow indoors space is an issue, they need more time in vegetable stage to yield well, and the buds take longer to mature. This means less turnover, and less profit.

The closest you will get to Sativa in almost all dispensaries is Blue Dream. You wouldn’t know it was Sativa dominant.

The only real option left is to grow your own.

Joe to Higher_Ground • 4 days ago
Well if you are using it medicinally or recreationally it is generally much cheaper to grow your own, over the long term. The sales tax on medical is 7% the sales tax for recreational is 25%. This is why the “black market dealers” continue to play a role in places where it is legal to purchase recreationally. It is actually cheaper due to the marijuana not being taxed.

I would guess a fairly small percentage of marijuana that is used recreationally is even bought at dispensaries. Many counties, and cities have banned dispensaries so all users in those areas either grow their own, buy illegally, or drive a long distance to purchase.

Colorado Springs is a good example, recreational dispensaries are banned. There is a single dispensary in Manitou Springs (basically the foot of Pikes Peak) which last year netted over 4+ million in sales last year. I would be willing to bet the amount used in Colorado Springs, whether grown or obtained illegally is easily 10 times that amount.

Even though it has become legal, I still visit my doctor every year and pay the state fees required to remain a medical patient. I know a couple of people with cancer who do so simply because that 23% tax savings adds up over the course of the year.

Yes, you can buy seeds from a european seed bank or out of state and grow it, but trafficking seeds is a federal crime.

It technically is federally illegal to grow, possess, and use marijuana to but trafficking through the mail is more easily identified. Even though it is legal in the state federal raids are not unheard of.

When addiction becomes criminal



Balderas on Friday charged Duran with 64 counts of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, identify theft and other crimes…

Taken together, the allegations portray a dizzying pattern of gambling sprees made possible through a series of transfers between bank accounts set up for her 2010 and 2014 campaigns and the personal checking account she shared with her husband that frequently delved deep into the red.

Duran’s banking records, as outlined by Balderas, show a life different from her public image. A conservative Republican in a mostly Democratic state, she rose from a deputy county clerk in Southern New Mexico to become the second-highest-ranking Republican in the state…

Judge halts lawsuit blaming Purdue, Endo and others for epidemic of drug abuse


Essentially, Judge Moss said that what California was asking of him was to regulate the marketing and determine the safety of certain prescription drugs, essentially taking on the authority similar to that of the FDA. He said the Supreme Court has already ruled that is not a role for a judge…

A Tiny Ripple of Hope


I don’t know if you can understand this, but [what happened in 1968] … made me realize that no matter how much hope you have, it can be taken away in a second. – Juan Romero

“I always dreaded when June was coming up,” said Romero, 65, who has struggled for most of his adult life to let go of his crippling memory of an American tragedy.

It happened just after midnight on June 5, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy had won the California presidential primary and made his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Romero was a 17-year-old busboy.

A Roosevelt High School student who had moved north from Mexico at the age of 10, Romero recalled the photos of President John F. Kennedy that hung alongside those of Pope John XXIII in the homes of Mexican families.

He worked at the hotel after school and had delivered room service to Kennedy earlier in the week. He knew he’d never forget the way Kennedy treated him and the pride he felt, and now he wanted to congratulate him as the candidate made his way through a kitchen service area. Romero reached out, took Kennedy’s hand, and watched him slump to the floor as gun blasts echoed.

The black-and-white photos of that moment, by Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times and Bill Eppridge of Life magazine, are as haunting now as they were 47 years ago.

RFK, who for many people represented hope for social justice, racial tolerance and an end to the war in Vietnam, lies on his back, limbs splayed. Romero squats at his side in white service jacket, a young witness to horror, his hand cradling Kennedy’s head.

“I wanted to protect his head from the cold concrete,” says Romero, who went to school the next day with Kennedy’s blood crusted under his fingernails, refusing to wash it away.

In the photos, disbelief and despair gathered in Juan Romero’s dark eyes, and he would carry the weight of that moment through the decades…

He spoke to me each time about his regrets, his sense of duty to the Kennedy legacy, and a lingering feeling of guilt. I told him there was no rational reason to feel guilty.
But the shooting had wounded his psyche. On far too many nights he lay awake wondering if Kennedy would still be alive if he hadn’t paused to shake a busboy’s hand…

One day, while visiting his mother in Tulare, his guilt surfaced again while he spoke to Zwiener by phone. He said she comforted him by saying that in some of the photos, taken just moments after the shooting, the shoes of bystanders can be seen at a safe distance from Kennedy. But there’s Juan, who didn’t take cover, trying to help a man in need…

The hotel is long gone, and in its place is a school and RFK memorial bearing Kennedy’s words, which read in part: “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, it sends out a tiny ripple of hope …”

Thinking of you, David Covillion, on 9/11

I found Dr. DeLuca’s website through Zyp Czyk’s post:


The website is no longer in operation, but it’s an excellent look at the history of the drug war and how it infiltrated the medical industry, especially State Medical Boards. I lived in Texas when the first Intractable Pain Act was passed — in other words, I’ve lived this history. And reading the posts on this website is like going back in time and reliving my own history — so many of the stories from chronic pain patients include parts of my own struggles.

I remember learning about Dr. Hurwitz’s case. I remember the fear and anger it invoked in my doctor. I don’t think Dr. Hurwitz’s case was the first “success” of the DEA and a State Medical Board, but it was the one that got the most media attention — and the most attention from other doctors.  Since then, State Medical Boards have basically become deputized by the DEA, along with many other state health agencies. Everyone in the medical industry pretty much works for the DEA, in one way or another.

Looking at the overall view of the war against pain patients, it’s informative to see how bad it’s gotten in such a short time.  And it’s important to look at the war from other viewpoints, including those of doctors and the DEA.


David Covillion finally got relief from his pain with the help of Jack Kevorkian. The pain came from neck and back injuries Covillion had suffered in April 1987, when his station wagon was broadsided by a school bus at an intersection in Hillside, New Jersey. The crash compounded damage already caused by an on-the-job injury and a bicycle accident. Covillion, a former police officer living in upstate New York, underwent surgery that fall, but it only made the pain worse. Along with a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory drug, his doctor prescribed Percocet, a combination of acetaminophen and the narcotic oxycodone, for the pain.

The doctor was uneasy about the Percocet prescriptions. In New York, as in eight other states, physicians have to write prescriptions for Schedule II drugs–a category that includes most narcotics–on special multiple-copy forms. The doctor keeps one copy, the patient takes the original to the pharmacy, and another copy goes to the state. After a year or so, Covillion recalled in an interview, his doctor started saying, “I’ve got to get you off these drugs. It’s raising red flags.” Covillion continued to demand painkiller, and eventually the doctor accused him of harassment and terminated their relationship.

“Then the nightmare really began,” Covillion said. “As I ran out of medication, I was confined to my bed totally, because it hurt to move….At times I’d have liked to just take an ax and chop my arm right off, because the pain got so bad, but I would have had to take half of my neck with it.” He started going from doctor to doctor. Many said they did not write narcotic prescriptions. Others would initially prescribe pain medication for him, but soon they would get nervous. “I’d find a doctor who would treat me for a little while,” he said. “Then he’d make up an excuse to get rid of me.” Eventually, Covillion went through all the doctors in the phone book. That’s when he decided to call Kevorkian…

Hurwitz may not be the only physician in the country who is willing to prescribe narcotics for chronic pain, but there are few enough that patients travel hundreds of miles to see them. “I call it the Painful Underground Railroad,” says Dr. Harvey L. Rose, a Carmichael, California, family practitioner who, like Hurwitz, once battled state regulators who accused him of excessive prescribing. “These are people who are hurting, who have to go out of state in order to find a doctor. We still get calls from all over the country: ‘My doctor won’t give me any pain medicine.’ Or, ‘My doctor died, and the new doctor won’t touch me.’ These people are desperate.”

So desperate that, like Covillion, many contemplate or attempt suicide. In an unpublished paper, Rose tells the stories of several such patients. A 28-year-old man who underwent lumbar disk surgery after an accident at work was left with persistent pain in one leg. His doctor refused to prescribe a strong painkiller, giving him an antidepressant instead. After seeking relief from alcohol and street drugs, the man hanged himself in his garage. A 37-year-old woman who suffered from severe migraines and muscle pain unsuccessfully sought Percocet, the only drug that seemed to work, from several physicians. At one point the pain was so bad that she put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger, unaware that her husband had recently removed the bullets. A 78- year-old woman with degenerative cervical disk disease suffered from chronic back pain after undergoing surgery. A series of physicians gave her small amounts of narcotics, but not enough to relieve her pain. She tried to kill herself four times–slashing her wrists, taking overdoses of Valium and heart medication, and getting into a bathtub with an electric mixer–before she became one of Rose’s patients and started getting sufficient doses of painkiller.

Clinicians and researchers have long remarked on the link between opiophobia and undertreatment of pain. In a 1966 pharmacology textbook, the psychiatrist Jerome H. Jaffe, who later became Richard Nixon’s drug czar, noted that patients who take narcotics long enough develop tolerance (a need for larger doses to achieve the same effect) and physical dependence (resulting in withdrawal symptoms). But he cautioned that “such considerations should not in any way prevent the physician from fulfilling his primary obligation to ease the patient’s discomfort. The physician should not wait until the pain becomes agonizing; no patient should ever wish for death because of his physician’s reluctance to use adequate amounts of potent narcotics.” ...

Meanwhile, Hurwitz’s patients were left high and dry. “I’m flabbergasted,” he told The Washington Post after his Virginia license was revoked. “The Board of Medicine has told my patients, ‘Drop dead.’” Said Laura D. Cooper, a patient with multiple sclerosis: “The board has made no provision for the patients. If I can’t get medicine, I’m going to die the next time I get sick, and that’s not histrionics. Some of us are candidates for suicide right now.” Cooper, an attorney, has filed a federal class-action suit against the Virginia Board of Medicine, the Department of Health Professions, and the DEA on behalf of herself and Hurwitz’s other pain patients.

David Covillion is not a party to the suit. He killed himself on September 11.

(Photo taken on 8/5/2015.)