Opioids are a plague?

http://www.statnews.com/2016/11/18/opioids-addiction-chronic-pain/

The opioid epidemic has rapidly emerged from the shadows and is now recognized as a plague that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. In its destructive potential, it can be compared to the AIDS and polio epidemics…

A plague is contagious — addiction is not. And please, addiction is as destructive as AIDS? That’s what you would call a lie.

As for who this “epidemic” affects, it’s been shown that it mainly affects white, middle-class people. Those who enjoy a certain socioeconomic status are the ones with access to prescription medications like opioids.

But unlike AIDS and polio, the opioid epidemic continues to rage in large part because we, as a nation, have not yet resolved to attack it head on…

Really? Why don’t you tally up all the money that’s been spent in the war on drugs and the fight against addiction. Just like with every war, the more money you put into it, the more it takes on a life of its own, causing destruction to just about everyone.

As a pain expert, I had hoped the surgeon general’s report would have placed a greater emphasis on the need to develop alternatives to opioids that can be used for pain management, which would eliminate a key pathway to abuse…

Opioids are not a “key pathway to abuse,” just like marijuana is not a pathway to heroin abuse. And it’s extremely disturbing that a pain “expert” believes this to be true. Tens of millions of patients have taken opioids without any problems whatsoever.

And while a lot of people talk about alternatives to opioids, they don’t exist. Nothing works as well as opioids for pain. Nothing. How do I know? Because just like millions of other pain patients, I’ve tried everything. So, while this “expert” can hope for alternatives to opioids, that’s not the reality. And it won’t be for decades to come.

Here’s a more in depth analysis of the Surgeon General’s report:

http://www.reason.com/blog/2016/11/18/surgeon-generals-report-mistakenly-treat

The article from STAT reminded me of an article I saw months ago:

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/07/14/prolonged-drug-use-may-impact-moral-judgment/21432378/

Researchers from the University of New Mexico and the Mind Research Network have found yet another ill effect linked to prolonged drug use. According to the scientists, over time, both cocaine and methamphetamine can diminish activity in the brain’s moral and emotional centers, creating difficulty in determining right from wrong. The study’s subjects were inmates from prisons in New Mexico and Wisconsin. Roughly 130 of them had a history of methamphetamine and cocaine use, while the remaining 80 did not.

Whose morals are we talking about here? And with a sample size that was so small, using prison inmates, this “study” determines nothing. Also, you can’t determine what happens to a brain on drugs unless you have tests that show how that same brain worked before the drug use started. Recently, scientists have figured out how to “fingerprint” the brain. Turns out, everyone’s brain is unique:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brain-connections-map_us_582b628be4b01d8a014adc56

As some scientists are discovering, each brain is wired in a completely unique way. In the same way that each of us has a specific fingerprint, we also have a distinct map of brain connections…”

This research by UNM is the only kind that’s been funded by anti-drug agencies, like the NIDA. Do you want to know why we spend so much money on the failed drug war? It’s partially because of wasteful research like this.

What I would like to see is a test that shows the activity in Trump’s “moral and emotional centers.” You know, the ones that determine “right from wrong.” Would it look similar to the prisoners’ test results?

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Survival

On my way to the University of New Mexico (for a walk and art therapy), I’ve passed an uncounted number of homeless people. Those who don’t pay attention to red lights and walk around aimlessly. Those who can barely walk at all and some in wheelchairs. The other day, I saw a woman waiting for a bus and talking on the phone. A man drove by, slowed down, and asked her something out of his car window. She angrily shook her head and he drove away.

This homeless woman’s sign says, “Anyone got some weed? Sharing is caring.” Although I’m currently out of the only medicine available to me, I really wished I could’ve given her a joint. And since it’s the end of the month, I don’t have much food to share either. I had a thought about how nice it would be to drive around and give free food to the homeless. I also thought about how scary it would be to live on the streets. I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to survive.

During this holiday season, please do something kind for someone who has less than you, even if it’s just sharing a smile. Who knows, one day you may see me on the street corner, begging for anything that would help me survive.

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