Thinking of you, Lee Brooker

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/alabama-prosecutor-valeska-criminal-justice-reform.html?

Mr. Valeska has proved exceedingly adept at using diversion, generating more than $1 million for his office in the last five years. The money has helped him consolidate his singular power over the justice system in Houston and Henry Counties, where he has presided as the chief prosecutor for three decades.

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Dothan, the seat of Houston County and, with 70,000 residents, the regional hub, can feel like it is caught in a Southern time warp, immune to change and defined by racial division. Dothan, where one in three residents is black, has never had a black mayor, police chief, circuit judge or school superintendent. Meetings of the city commission are held in a room adorned with 28 portraits of city leaders, all of them white men. An old photograph shows police officers, including the current chief, posing beside a Confederate flag…

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It is not uncommon for residents to suffer severe penalties for crimes that would be considered minor elsewhere. Lee Brooker, a 77-year-old disabled veteran, was caught growing marijuana in his backyard in 2011. By introducing prior convictions from 1991, Mr. Valeska sought, and won, life without parole for Mr. Brooker…

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Modern day torture

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/9/12/half-of-patients-have-trouble-getting-pain-meds

Under comments:

David B. 13 hours ago

My doctor is pain management specialist/anesthesiologist, impeccable record, highly skilled & has controlled my pain more than a decade. My dosage has never increased, nor have I asked for it to be. I’ve never failed a random urine test. My doctor has shown genuine care through some rough patches over the years, more like a friend or brother. I was in excruciating constant pain from spina bifida and frozen shoulder from botched post-op care. My life has been full & productive once I found this doctor. Before that I had 2 concrete plans for suicide w/ everything I needed to carry one or the other out–& every intention to do so once my affairs were in order.

Last week, with no warning, my doctor refused to prescribe more than half of the amount I’ve been on almost 11 yrs. I’m in complete shock. I’m trying to stretch the meds out but I’m getting sicker and sicker from withdrawal. I was too shaken to hear all he said but now knowing what the Feds have done, I believe next month he will send me home with nothing. I’m a widower w/ no living children. My late wife and I had two babies– both were born with spina bifida (years before my own “occult” condition was discovered). Our son died at 17 months, our baby girl at just 20 days. We never allowed ourselves another pregnancy.

A chiropractor suspected my occult spina bifida ten years after my year in Vietnam (drafted) and after our babies were born and died. A neurologist diagnosed it. I worked with pain–took a lot of OTC meds that got me thru, until the shoulder surgery mistake landed me in chronic pain that was unbearable. I never imagined my fantastic doctor would betray me, that the country I fought for would do this to me, to so many of us and most likely more to come. As a veteran, in my opinion, this is torture pure & simple.

Never thought I’d say this but I’m GLAD my dad, a WWII vet who spent 3 years fighting the Nazis in Europe, isn’t alive to see what this country is doing to us. And I’m glad my wife, who was my childhood sweetheart, my first and only love, isn’t here to see me like this. If I can’t find another doctor, tho even if I do, how long before he cuts me off too? I can’t live in agony. I won’t. Why should I when in the blink of an eye I can be 100% whole again and with my wife and my little son and daughter? I will pray for all of you.

God help us all.

Prince and Lidocaine

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/22/health/prince-pills-fentanyl/

Star Tribune sources said Prince’s toxicology report, which has not been released, also revealed the presence of lidocaine, alprazolam and Percocet in his system. CNN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky said the combination of fentanyl, (which is an opioid based drug), and alprazolam (which is a benzodiazepine) could be the key to why Prince died…

Officials never revealed the amount of fentanyl that was in Prince’s system. But the Star Tribune reported that a source said the amount of fentanyl in his system was so high it would have killed anyone, no matter their size…

As a chronic pain patient on long-term opioid therapy, I’m sure Prince had a high tolerance. The media is focused on fentanyl, but no one’s asking about the amount of Percocet in his bloodstream.

“Officials” say he didn’t have a prescription for fentanyl, but it appears he did have a prescription for the Percocet and alprazolam. And it appears that this combination wasn’t enough to manage his pain. Did his doctor refuse to increase his medications (either before or after his overdose)? Is that why he went to the underground market for Vicodin, but got fentanyl instead? Had Prince ever taken fentanyl? If Percocet wasn’t helping his pain, wouldn’t the next step be fentanyl or something similarly stronger? So many questions…

There’s not enough information to know what happened, and I guess we’ll never know the truth. Like, why were his shirt and pants on backwards? Was he so messed up that he put them on that way? Both of them on backwards? I just think that’s odd.

Drew Pinsky is a major dickhead, but he’s right about the combination of painkillers and benzos. However, I wondered about the lidocaine. Why did Prince have lidocaine in his system? I used lidocaine patches for years, although I think they provided more of a placebo effect than any real pain relief. They were expensive, but my doctor used to sometimes give me samples. (Thanks, Big Pharma.)

But I had no idea that lidocaine could be deadly. I also didn’t realize that users could inject it, but there’s probably something that can be done chemically to a patch — of lidocaine or fentanyl — that can turn the drugs into something that can be injected. Did Prince have injection marks on his body? Did he inject the Vicodin (really fentanyl)?

https://wiki.bme.com/index.php?title=Lidocaine_Toxicity

“I am experiencing a toxic response to daily use of lidocaine patches over a period of many months. I have been seen by a pain specialist who signed off on the Rx each month. I have been experiencing: exhaustion, blurred vision, tinnitus, horrible metallic taste in my mouth, nausea, diarehha, numbness of tongue, blurred vision (x3 episodes), difficulty in concentration, and agitation. He was also giving me injections, which included cortizone and lidocaine. Initially, I thought I had the flu. When the exhaustion continued, I decided to see my GP. On the 17th of this month, I suddenly recalled that the doctor had asked me if I had a metallic taste in my mouth during injections. I read the patch brochure, ripped off the patch, and saw my GP.”

Lidocaine toxicity is estimated to affect between 1 in 1000 to 1 in 500 patients.

http://patientsville.com/side-effects-questions/lidocaine-wed-23-mar-2011-23-07-42.htm

Lidocaine Reviewed by adi smith on Wed, 23 Mar 2011 .
Deadly!!! After being injected by my dentist my heart immediately started to race sending me into shock and gasping for breath. This was followed by spasms. seizures.and sub consciousness. it was real awful . The paramedics had to be called to take me to the ER. I was booked for two days. it left me with chest pains and occasional throbbing of the heart. It was the worst experience and a venture with death

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095147.htm

Improper Use of Skin Numbing Products Can Be Deadly

When no one believes you

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/8/11/prop-ends-affiliation-with-phoenix-house

Like PROP, the foundation’s main goal is to reduce opioid prescribing. It is named after Steve Rummler, a Minnesota pain patient who became addicted to opioid medication while being treated for a back injury.

After several attempts at addiction treatment, Rummler relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 43.

“He struggled with the pain for a long time,” said Judy Rummler, Steve’s mother and chief financial officer of the foundation. “He had what I think later was figured out to be some damage to the nervous system around his spinal cord because he had what he described as shooting electric shock-like sensations that would shoot up his back into his head and down his legs into his feet.”

Steve sought help from many doctors, but never received a treatable diagnosis. He started taking OxyContin for pain relief. “Once he was prescribed the opioids in 2005, then he didn’t care about getting answers anymore,” his mother said.

After Steve’s death in 2011, the Rummler family established the foundation with the goal of helping others who also struggle with chronic pain and addiction. It was PROP’s founder and chief executive, Andrew Kolodny, MD, who approached the foundation with the idea of joining forces…

“Basically as the fiscal sponsor we accept donations and we manage the funding. We don’t set any policy for him,” Judy Rummler told Pain News Network. “Obviously our missions are similar. We are very concerned about the overprescribing of opioids. Yet I know if my son were alive today he would probably be telling you what you hear from so many other pain patients; that he couldn’t live without them. But the problem was he died as a result of it.

“I know there are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by cutting back on the prescribing, but I just think a lot of them are addicted as my son was. Yet he would have been the first one to scream and yell about having his pills cutoff.”

The Rummler Foundation calls this tug-of-war between opioids and addiction “The Dilemma.” It advocates for wholesale change in the treatment of chronic pain, emphasizing “wellness rather than drugs” and the use of “a wide array of non-opioid options.”

Opioid medication should not be prescribed for chronic pain, according to Rummler…

Poor Steve. So desperate and in so much pain — but he had nowhere to turn for help. He was being treated for addiction, not chronic pain. His chronic pain was ignored, even though it was the constant pain that caused Steve to become addicted to pain relief in the first place.

(Let me just say that I’m not sure Steve was suffering from addiction, but that is what he was being treated for.)

I’m sure that most chronic pain patients understand Steve’s desperation. Personally, I’m beginning to think that desperation is my middle name.

It was his pain (environment) and his DNA that made Steve susceptible to addiction. (DNA, by the way, he got from his parents.) A part of his addiction was probably caused by low self-esteem due to the censure of his loved ones and the shame all drug addicts feel (also his environment). There’s no shame in suffering from cancer, but those who suffer from addiction and chronic pain are weak and morally corrupt — according to the anti-opioid lobby. According to the drug war.

I consider it hypocritical and ignorant when anyone claims there’s no evidence that opioids work for chronic pain. (I also find the medical industry’s use of the word “evidence” to always be suspect. After all, I’m not a mouse. And my intractable pain is as unique as my DNA.) You can’t tell me that opioids don’t work — I took them for 10 years. You can’t tell millions of chronic pain patients that opioids don’t work — they’ve taken them for years, too.

Denying reality has always been helpful when fighting on the side of the drug war. #DenyingReality #ItsAllAboutFear (#DonaldDrumpf)

To all you hypocrites:  How much unbiased “evidence” exists that shows antidepressants or cortisone injections work for chronic pain? Denying adequate treatment for those in constant pain is the definition of torture. So, when someone advocates against the option of opioids to treat chronic pain, then that person is advocating for torture. (It seems there’s a high percentage of masochists within the 200 million people who don’t suffer from chronic pain in this country.)

Grief can motivate a person to do great things, but the reverse is also true. Rich, grieving parents, too blinded by their own pain to see anyone else’s. Like their grief is so raw and overwhelming that it destroys any empathy those people may have had for anyone else. Like their pain is more important than anything else. Like they’re more important than anyone else. (#TrumpSyndrome)

Let’s get this straight: Steve was not your average chronic pain patient. (To learn a little more about Steve’s story, click on the link below.) But, Steve is an example of the suffering that pain patients, who also suffer from drug addiction, go through. If you have a history of drug addiction, no one believes you’re in pain. And I know many chronic pain patients can understand what it feels like when no one believes you.

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/the-epidemic-of-grief-stricken-parents/

Thinking of you, Andrew Sadek

http://www.hightimes.com/read/north-dakota-drug-informants-family-sues-wrongful-death

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The family of a North Dakota college student who was a confidential informant for a drug task force filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday accusing a sheriff’s department, a deputy and the county of failing to ensure the 20-year-old’s safety.

The body of Andrew Sadek was found exactly two years ago in the Red River, which separates North Dakota from Minnesota, not far from where he attended college in Wahpeton. An autopsy concluded Sadek died of a gunshot wound to the head…

A report by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation said Sadek got in trouble with the law in April 2013, when he twice sold marijuana to a confidential informant. Both transactions were small – $20 and $60 worth of drugs – but they took place in a school zone, making the potential charges against him serious felonies. Later that year, drug task force agents searched Sadek’s dorm room and said they found a grinder containing marijuana residue. The next day, Sadek completed paperwork to become a confidential informant, making three drug buys for the regional task force over the next three months.

The task force didn’t hear from Sadek after that…

The drug war targets teenagers

https://mic.com/articles/145837/footage-shows-officer-tasing-teen-dropping-his-limp-body-on-pavement-during-traffic-stop#.gpqTP3Aq3

Police were ordered by a federal judge on Monday to release dashcam footage that shows a former officer using a Taser stun gun on a teenage boy until he sustained brain damage during a routine traffic stop in Missouri in 2014.

Bryce Masters, who was 17 when the incident occurred, was pulled over by former Officer Timothy Runnels, who initially told authorities that he made the stop because the license plate of Masters’ car was linked to an outstanding arrest warrant. Later, he said that he had smelled marijuana in the car, a small amount of which was found in Masters’ pants pocket…

After an extended back-and-forth, during which Masters repeatedly asks, “Am I under arrest?” Runnels deploys his Taser for a full 23 seconds — the equivalent of discharging the weapon four individual times, and enough to cause the teen to go into cardiac arrest.

The footage also shows Runnels dropping Masters’ limp body to the concrete after putting him in handcuffs…

Former Independence police officer sentenced to 4 years for tasing arrest that put teen in coma

As part of his guilty plea, Runnels admitted that he deprived the minor of his civil rights by deliberately dropping the minor face first onto the ground while the minor was restrained and not posing a threat to Runnels or others. According to the court filings, Runnels also admitted that his actions resulted in bodily injury to the minor.

During a sentencing hearing the government provided evidence that Runnels deployed his Taser into the minor’s chest during a traffic stop and then caused the electric current to run for approximately 20 seconds, four times longer than officers are trained to deploy a Taser…

The drug war has given law enforcement a lot of power. And this is just one video out of hundreds that have made it on to YouTube showing how dangerous it is to question the police. How dangerous it is to believe you have any other option than to follow orders. (And if at all possible, record, because you’ll never know when other cameras are not functioning properly, for whatever reason.)

As an old, white woman, I watched this video and thought, well, that would never happen to me. (After being disgusted and nauseated at how one human being can treat another human being, just because of a suspicion of weed.)

And yet, that’s not really true. Maybe I don’t fit the profile of a stoner — as Bryce Masters apparently did, just because of his youth — but with the opioid war, I know cops are looking for more than just weed. And more senior citizens are using medical cannabis every day. (There’s an internet rumor that the DEA will be rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II in August of this year.)

When I was taking pills, I rarely drove with them in my possession (not that I needed to), just in case I got stopped. Living in Texas, you could get stopped for any reason whatsoever, even if you’re doing nothing wrong. I’m guessing that there are still pain patients who don’t fear the cops, thinking if they follow all the rules, they’ll be fine.

But I want pain patients to understand that the cops don’t look at you as a chronic pain patient — just like most doctors, cops look at pain patients as drug addicts. And if you’re ever unfortunate enough to have a run in with the cops (or ER/hospital doctors), expect to be treated like a drug addict.

Don’t ever think that the drug war is helping our kids, because it’s easy to see that it does more harm than good. The drug war turns our kids (and pain patients) into criminals.