Brought To You By Your Tax Dollars

What to do when you have no money and no internet access? I tried to find some distraction at my local mall, which really has some beautiful interiors. Instead, I’m met with a very large message funded by the drug war.

I haven’t visited this mall very often, but every time I have, it’s been pretty deserted. It’s a very fancy sign that very few people will see. Better to hire a graffiti artist — the graffiti in this city is certainly more noticeable than this huge sign in the mall.

I also visited the skate park during my internet hiatus, where I found this fairly noticeable sign (graffiti):

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CDC funding helps states combat prescription drug overdose epidemic

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, a new program to help states end the ongoing prescription drug overdose epidemic…

Through a competitive application process, CDC selected 16 states to receive funds through the program: Arizona, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin…

In FY2015, CDC is committing $20 million to launch this program in 16 states. Over the next four years, CDC plans to give the states annual awards between $750,000 and $1 million each year, subject to the availability of funds, to advance prevention, including in these areas:

-Enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
-Putting prevention into action in communities nationwide and encouraging education of providers and patients about the risk of prescription drug overdose.
Working with health systems, insurers, and professional providers to help them make informed decisions about prescribing pain medication.
-Responding to new and emerging drug overdose issues through innovative projects, including developing new surveillance systems or communications campaigns.
-States can also use the funding to:
–Better understand and respond to the increase in heroin overdose deaths.
–Investigate the connection between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.

Well, this “new” program is just more of the same. Nothing new here. No help for pain or mental health patients. No help to stop the increase in suicides. In fact, no mention of suicide at all. The funds are only to further the drug war (like this sign in the mall). It’s sad, but what I’ve come to expect from the CDC.

The federal government keeps funding programs that don’t work, and the states don’t care if they work or not — they just want the money.

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(Photos taken 9/13/2015.)

Speed test for Century Link vs. Verizon

The average internet speed in New Mexico is 22.7mbps.

Download nationwide average: 35.49mpbs

Albuquerque: 22.56mbps

Upload nationwide average: 11.23mbps

Albuquerque: 6.28mbps

Speed Test for my connection, Verizon 4G LTE, on 4/26/2015 at 3:57am:

Download: 17.63 Mbps

Upload: 7.41 Mbps

Speed Test for my new Century Link internet connection on 9/17/2015 at 11:53am:

Download: 33.97 Mbps

Upload: 4.82 Mbps

Autism May Be Added to the Medical Marijuana List (MI)

“It seems to work . . . Wouldn’t that be better than giving them all these psychiatric drugs?” Noah’s doctor, Dr. Harry Chugani, said to the news station. “Not every autistic kid would take this, but if your behavior is wild and you have to be institutionalized, I as a physician would prefer to try medical marijuana. I have at least 50 patients on multiple drugs and still their behaviors are not controlled.”

We don’t have a clear understanding yet of how cannabis works to treat autism, but the anecdotal evidence seems to support the notion, and the industry is working to expand its knowledge of why.

“Cannabinoids in cannabis interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (literally inner-cannabinoid) and act not only to regulate emotion and focus but also serve as a neuroprotective preventing the further degradation of brain cells,” notes the Denver Relief dispensary. “Tempering an autistic person’s mood consistently is achieved with an oral dose of cannabis that can be adjusted according to need. Unlike pharmaceutical alternatives, cannabis has no lethal dose making it safe for self-medicating and easing the worries of caretakers.” …

A number of other groups, like Mothers For Medical Marijuana Treatment For Autism and Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, are also pushing for awareness and acceptance…

AMA Releases Analyses on Potential Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana Mergers

“A lack of competition in health insurer markets is not in the best interests of patients or physicians,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “If a health insurer merger is likely to erode competition, employers and patients may be charged higher than competitive premiums, and physicians may be pressured to accept unfair terms that undermine their role as patient advocates and their ability to provide high-quality care. Given these factors, AMA is urging federal and state regulators to carefully review the proposed mergers and use enforcement tools to preserve competition.” …

I’m enrolled with a First Health Part D plan, and I just got a letter informing me that First Health is part of the Aetna family, saying it purchased First Health in 2013. This reminds me of when my bank was taken over by another one and I really had no choice in the matter but to accept it. Did I sign up with First Health or Aetna? At this point, does it really matter?

There have been a lot of these kinds of changes in health care since the ACA passed, and it’s likely to continue for years to come. Insurance companies are looking at the data that’s been compiled so far and are seeking to buy up any companies making money in this new marketplace. But there’s really not enough data to make informed decisions at this point, so basically it’s just a rush to accumulate as much power as possible in this industry.

Too bad the AMA doesn’t feel the same way about the DEA that it feels about these mergers.

How chronic pain patients are created by the medical industry

Statins are tried-and-true moneymakers, but they also come with their own set of safety concerns. Cardiovascular problems linked to the meds are nothing new, and scientists recently highlighted potentially alarming side effects including amnesia and mental decline.

But a pacing of side effects data shows these neurological side effects are not turning up as frequently in postmarketing safety data. And muscle-related side effects, which are commonly linked to the drugs, show up more often in three Merck products than in the rest of the class.

That’s the word from healthcare informatics company Advera Health Analytics. The firm sifted through FDA postmarketing safety reports, and compiled data on side effects for companies producing statin drugs. Advera’s report found that Merck’s Zocor, Mevacor and Vytorin were associated with more muscle-related side effects than other drugs in the class such as Pfizer’s Caduet, AbbVie’s Simcor and AstraZeneca’s blockbuster Crestor.

For example, Zocor had 4275 reports of myalgia, 632 reports of myopathy, and 3552 cases of rhabdomyolysis, a condition commonly linked to statins that involves the breakdown of muscle tissue…

If a drug you’re taking has a side effect of nausea, you’ll get a new pill for that. Do you want to be treated for the side effect of chronic pain? Good luck.

Doing It

I Want Your Sex by George Michael

It’s natural, it’s chemical
(Let’s do it)
It’s logical, habitual
(Can we do it?)

It’s sensual
But most of all
Sex is something that we should do
Sex is something for me and you

Sex is natural, sex is good
Not everybody does it, but everybody should
Sex is natural, sex is fun
Sex is best when it’s one on one
One on one

(Photo taken 9/8/2015.)