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…

Thinking of you, Marsha Reid

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/11/16/daughter-blames-doctors-for-mothers-suicide

Marsha Reid died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on November 2, leaving behind a grief stricken daughter who will always wonder if things would have turned out differently if her mother had gotten the pain treatment she needed…

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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.

How the government creates criminals

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/04/15/feds-pill-crackdown-drives-pain-patients-to-heroin.html

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a broad set of recommendations in March for physicians and treatment facilities that dispense opiate medications. The same week Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law some of the most restrictive regulations ever governing the therapeutic use of narcotic drugs—including limiting first-time prescriptions for opioid pain medication to seven days worth of pills. At least six states have passed similar measures restricting the amount and potency of narcotic medications doctors can prescribe…

[Christopher] Baltz was in his third year of treatment for chronic pain resulting from a severe motorcycle accident and was being prescribed a high dose of oxycodone when Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared war on the state’s robust pain management industry in 2011…

Scott’s crackdown led to the closure of some 400 pain management clinics almost overnight, while a coordinated effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration targeted pharmacies suspected of over-dispensing controlled substances.

This took the form of more aggressive enforcement of a decades-old federal mandate known as “corresponding responsibility” that holds pharmacies legally accountable for ensuring the drugs they dispense are being used for a “legitimate medical purpose.”

In theory, the policy is designed to add another check in the process of preventing drug abuse and diversion. In practice, it places pharmacists in the unwarranted position of policing doctors, and discriminating against patients on the basis of often arbitrary red flags (for instance, paying for their prescriptions in cash).

The net effect of the crackdown in Florida was profound and acute. Prescription drug deaths dropped precipitously within the first year-—but heroin deaths rose 39 percent, as patients cut off from legal opioids turned to illegal drugs for relief…

In spring 2013—two days after receiving a courtesy call confirming his monthly appointment—Baltz showed up at his pain management clinic only to find it had been closed down. Within weeks he was making regular trips to Miami to buy heroin.

“The government wants to prevent people abusing pain medication, but there’s no exit strategy,” said Baltz. “I never even saw heroin until this happened.” …

According to the United Nations, 5.5 billion people around the world already suffer from inadequate pain treatment. This includes roughly a third of all cancer patients in the U.S.

Dr. Webster is one of hundreds of doctors and pharmacies that have been investigated by the DEA since it launched its OxyContin Action Plan in 2001. The plan signaled a shift in federal enforcement tactics away from a focus on illicit street drugs and toward preventing controlled pharmaceuticals from falling into the wrong hands. Over the next 13 years the DEA added more than 1,500 personnel and more than doubled its budget. It also significantly ramped up administrative audits of registrants authorized to dispense controlled substances. (As The Daily Beast reported last year, over the same period the DEA was increasing its quotas of Schedule II pharmaceuticals approved for commercial sale).

During one year alone (2009-2010) the number of regulatory investigations conducted by the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control (responsible for policing prescription drugs) more than tripled, according to the Government Accountability Office…

Federal law requires that all prescriptions for controlled substances be for a “legitimate medical purpose,” but it doesn’t define the term…

Ironically, there is evidence that restricting patient access to pain medicine could actually lead to more overdoses, not fewer. Medical examiners are already unsure of how many deaths attributed to “unintentional overdose” are actually suicides. Chronic pain patients frequently suffer from ancillary mental health problems—including depression, anxiety and insomnia—and are at least twice as likely to commit suicide.

In 2013, when the Department of Veterans Affairs responded to a runaway painkiller problem with a new Opioid Safety Initiative, reports surfaced of patients being cut off their medication without proper dose reductions. Within months the agency came under fire for its new policy when a 52-year-old Navy veteran shot himself in the head in front of an outpatient clinic in Virginia after he was forced off his pain meds.

“The medications were the only thing that was helping him, and when they took that away from him, his life just went downhill,” a friend of the dead man told a local paper…

Meanwhile, there is evidence that the majority of prescription opioids that are diverted for illicit use come from the acute care setting, not the treatment of chronic pain.

I’m not sure that makes sense, if this is also true:

From the New York Times:  “And so although emergency physicians write not quite 5 percent of opioid prescriptions, E.R.s have been identified as a starting point on a patient’s path to opioid and even heroin addiction…”

But perhaps it just shows how small the diversion problem really is, even though we’ve spent so much money (and ruined so many lives) in the effort to combat it.

Dr. Daniel del Portal, who teaches emergency medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, says the modern health care system often incentivizes doctors in acute care settings to find a quick fix for patient complaints. “The pressure is on physicians to make patients happy at any costs,” he told The Daily Beast…

Really? How many doctors have you known that made an effort to make you happy? I don’t ever recall feeling happy after leaving the doctor’s office.

Finally, doctors say there is little use in recommending alternative treatments for patients if they can’t afford them. Pain pills are cheap, and usually fully covered by insurance; physical therapy, chiropractic care, and yoga are expensive, and almost always include co-pays (if they are covered at all)…

Sure, the only reason pain patients don’t use alternative treatments is because of the cost. That really flies in the face of how many pain patients pay out-of-pocket for these alternative treatments, as many are forced to do before they are even given access to opioids.

The fact is that alternative treatments have not proven to be very successful, and their gains are extremely short-lived. This is about treating constant, daily pain, not an injury that will improve over time. For instance, I’m sure there are plenty of pain patients who would welcome a daily massage (if they could afford it), but I would need painkillers before I agreed to let someone work on my body. It would be a treatment that caused more pain, just like so many others I’ve tried. Seems to me that most of the treatments which cause more pain don’t provide as much benefit as their practitioners would have you believe. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t really work when we’re talking about chronic pain.

Another problem is that many of these alternative treatments can be practiced at home, but unless you’re being seen by a doctor, disability insurance companies will question if you’re really suffering from chronic pain. And what’s the point of paying for a doctor if all she can prescribe are these alternative treatments? Because you really don’t need a prescription for yoga, meditation, stretching and exercise, and many other alternative treatments. (Doctors suck.)

Your doctor works for the DEA

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=15297

Michael Minas, MD, 51, a solo, independent family practice doctor in Eagle, Idaho, was indicted in June, 2014, with seventeen counts of distributing a controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose…

First Dr. Minas considered accepting a plea agreement based on 17 charges, but then, like the rest of us innocent physicians, decided to trust the justice system and go to trial. So the US Attorney countered by adding 129 additional charges to ensure conviction (total of 146)…

In an article by John Sowell of the Idaho Statesman, the prosecution is reported to say that Dr. Minas’s family practice clinic focused on pain, as if that was a crime. As a family practitioner whose primary practice also became pain management in a rural area because there was no one else willing, I can verify that this is not a crime and does not reflect illegal activity, but compassionate patient-oriented medicine…

Next comes the warnings to physicians of the future. The new laws being presented in states and now the federal government, makes even the simplest decision in pain management by a physician criminal…

The attorneys say Minas, as one of a few independent physicians in the Treasure Valley not affiliated with the Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke’s health care systems, was targeted by the government to set an example to doctors throughout Idaho who continue to provide pain medication outside a pain clinic setting. I expand that to read “outside a hospital-owned setting.” …

I know that in my case, the people [patients] I suspected to be drug dealers were never charged with anything when I informed the drug enforcement officer in my county, Mr. Larry Finley…

CDC Condones Torture

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1515917

(4/21/2016) Reducing the Risks of Relief — The CDC Opioid-Prescribing Guideline

By Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., and Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H.

My comment:

Where are the studies that show there’s a difference between cancer pain and other chronic pain? Why does a cancer patient deserve adequate and affordable treatment, while chronic pain patients are forced to suffer? Because a small percentage (of rich, white patients) may become addicted? Does the CDC contend that dependence and addiction are the same thing?

Mr. Frieden, what the CDC has done (along with the DEA) is legalized torture, the definition of which is to “inflict severe pain on.” (Do you think chronic pain can’t ever be characterized as severe or acute?) Torture is also “the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something…” (That’s a great definition of the drug war.)

You’re not only punishing chronic pain patients, you are torturing them. Admit it. Admit the blatant discrimination in these “guidelines.” Admit that being an alcoholic does not give you any experience with the treatment of chronic pain.

I am a 30-year intractable pain survivor. The only treatment option I have left is the right to die. Thanks, CDC. (Also posted at painkills2 on WordPress.)

“Thank you! Your comment listed below has been successfully submitted for the moderator to review.”

Comments open through April 27, 2016

Update (4/21/2016):

My comment was approved for posting on the CDC’s website, but they removed this language:

“Admit it. Admit the blatant discrimination in these ‘guidelines.’ Admit that being an alcoholic does not give you any experience with the treatment of chronic pain.”

Thinking of you, Tonya Martin

http://www.thenation.com/article/state-where-giving-birth-can-be-criminal/

At around midnight on November 13, Tonya Martin slipped out into the yard that separated her trailer from the one in which her grandparents live on a lot in the eastern hills of Tennessee. Just two months earlier, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department arrested Martin after she gave birth to a son. Her crime: delivering a child at Sweetwater Hospital with drugs—some kind of opioid—in his system.

Martin couldn’t shake her addiction or the depression that plagued her. The 34-year-old mother gave up the newborn for adoption. Not long after, Martin’s boyfriend found her dangling from the clothesline pole in her grandmother’s yard. He tried to resuscitate her, but it was too late…

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http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/03/tennessee-drug-use-pregnancy-fetal-assault-murder-jail-prison-prosecution

When she went into labor in late 2014, Brittany Hudson couldn’t go to the hospital. The 24-year-old East Tennessee native had been abusing prescription drugs for years and knew that, under a new state law, if her baby was born showing signs of her drug use, Hudson could be sent to jail. That was the reason she’d forgone prenatal care for most of her pregnancy. Hudson was already in labor when she went with a friend to see a midwife, but it was too late. She gave birth to her daughter in the backseat of her friend’s car on the side of the road, where her friend cleaned her up after. Then she turned around and went home….

Hudson didn’t have much time alone with her new daughter. Someone reported her to law enforcement, and just days after giving birth, she was contacted by the police, who asked her to check in at the hospital, where her newborn, Braylee, went into withdrawal. Almost a week later, while Braylee was still in intensive care, Hudson was arrested, charged with assault, and jailed.

Hudson was charged under Tennessee’s new fetal-assault statute, passed in the spring of 2014 as part of a push to combat an opioid addiction epidemic in the state. The newly revised measure, which is the first law of its kind in the nation, allows the state to prosecute women for illegally using narcotics while pregnant, if the child is born “addicted to or harmed by” the drugs…

For example, a pregnant woman in her ninth month was arrested in 2014 for “engaging in conduct which placed her baby in eminent danger or death or serious bodily injury,” according to the warrant. What did she do? Drove without a seatbelt…

By 2010, Tennessee’s opioid overdose rate was almost twice as high as the national average, and in 2012 Tennessee was the second-highest opioid-prescribing state, after Alabama. That year, the state’s lawmakers enacted the Prescription Safety Act, meant to combat opioid abuse. The statute required that physicians use a centralized database to look up their patients’ records before prescribing more pain medication. But it didn’t make a dent in the problem. Opioid abuse continued to rage throughout the state, and in 2014, the number of opioid-related deaths increased from the year before, surpassing the number of people killed by car accidents or gunshots…

theinfluence.org/how-the-myth-of-the-addicted-baby-hurts-newborns-and-moms/

The idea that vast numbers of pregnant women are putting their infants at risk by using drugs like heroin is misguided; nationally, about 5 percent of pregnant women report use of illegal drugs (mostly marijuana) during pregnancy. Nonetheless, media hype has crafted a narrative of disgust around parents of babies with NAS…

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/12/pregnant-women-addiction-healthcare-not-handcuffs

NAS is a highly treatable condition without long-term effects… But even more damning is this: the law hasn’t decreased NAS births statewide. Since its implementation, such births have actually increased…

Another Sexual Assault in Service of the Drug War

https://reason.com/blog/2016/04/12/another-sexual-assault-in-service-of-the

Suddenly claiming to smell the odor of burnt marijuana coming from Carbone’s car, Maiella arrested her on suspicion of driving under the influence…

At the Lawrence County Correctional Center, Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough.” Carbone says two corrections officers, April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, mistakenly thought they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item. Then they had her bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough again. Carbone was “crying hysterically” and insisting that she was not concealing anything inside her body…

Maiella, the arresting officer, asked Salem and Lamancusa what he should do next, and they instructed him to take Carbone to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities.” At the hospital, the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who agreed that Carbone needed treatment “for a possible overdose, rectal packing and/or oral intake of a controlled substance.” But Carbone did not consent to “treatment,” and the police did not obtain a warrant authorizing the procedures that followed.

Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.” He did not find anything…

Since Geiser and the cops thought Carbone “might have something located deeper in her vagina and rectum,” she was subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…

Still determined to discover contraband, Geiser “performed a second internal examination of [Carbone’s] vagina and rectum,” then instructed two nurses to perform a third. They also swabbed her vagina “for testing.” After none of these inspections turned up evidence of a crime, Maiella told Carbone she was free to go…

Thinking of Nathan Eaton and Tod Abrams

http://thecoastalstar.com/profiles/blogs/delray-beach-xanax-addiction-and-death

Tod Abrams’ last act, in a life that included a once-thriving career as a Hollywood film executive and fathering a son whom he said he adored, was to tie a pair of bathrobe cords together, loop them around his neck and fix a knot below his left ear. Then he hanged himself from a metal rod in a closet.

“The anguish, anxiety and nightmares were unbearable,” the 52-year-old Abrams had written in a note to his family. Police found it on a dresser in his room on Aug. 30 last year, after he had been dead for a few hours. It was only a month after he had sought help with his addiction to Xanax, a sedative used to treat anxiety, at a $60,000-a-month residential facility run by Caron Treatment Centers in an upscale oceanside neighborhood in Delray Beach.

“I haven’t slept in 4 days and I’m probably beginning to hallucinate,” his note went on. “The people here were very kind but the program was too rigorous, too difficult. I’m too fatigued to proceed on. I don’t have the strength.” …

http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20160327/NEWS/160329827

The father of a man who died at a Center Point drug treatment center in San Rafael three years ago has sued Center Point, alleging the facility’s failure to follow state regulations led to his son’s death.

Nathan Eaton, 32, was found dead in his room at the Manor, Center Point’s facility at 603 D St., at 7:05 a.m. March 9, 2013, according to the county coroner’s report. Dr. Joseph Cohen, the county’s chief forensic pathologist, concluded Eaton died of “acute methadone intoxication.” …

There are 14 entities licensed by the state to operate drug treatment facilities in Marin County, operating out of 27 separate locations. Of the 200 licensed drug treatment beds in the county, all but 90 are licensed for detox services. Center Point operates 84 of those beds in centers not licensed for detox.

Adam Weintraub, a spokesman for the state Department of Health Care Services, said both licensed and unlicensed detox centers are not required to have medical personnel on the premises or on call…

Weintraub said the state does not keep track of how many overdose deaths occur at drug treatment facilities. He said coroners are not required to report overdose deaths to the Department of Health Care Services…

Harris said the Department of Health Care Services’ Licensing and Certification Division made inquires about Eaton’s death in April 2013. There is no indication, however, that any disciplinary action was taken…

After the CDC guidelines…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-frieden-md-mph/do-no-harm-cdc-guideline_b_9471168.html

Jett Ward · Troy, Ohio
I had three wisdom teeth pulled and the dentist would not give me anything. Told me to take some Tylenol…

People already avoid the dentist, mostly because of cost, but what do you think will happen when more people realize that dentists are refusing to treat the pain from dental work? Surgeons refusing to treat pain after a certain number of days after surgery? All the healthcare insurance coverage in the world will not provide better outcomes for a large population who refuses to even seek treatment.

Whatever good Obamacare has brought is now destroyed by the CDC (and FDA).

Carole Dunn · SUNY Empire State
I have to look at this from the perspective of people who are in horrific pain. For two years I had nothing but bone on bone in my left hip. I was prescribed opioids that barely took the edge off the pain. I had days where I couldn’t walk at all, but I was never able to get the amount of medicine I actually needed. I had thoughts of suicide a lot. I was finally able to get my hip replaced after doctors repeatedly told me the pain was coming from my back. After the operation the pain meds were so inadequate I couldn’t do the physical therapy. The physical therapists realized I was not adequately medicated and they convinced the pain management specialist to give me adequate meds so I could do the necessary exercises. They said it was a common problem with patients who were in terrible pain and were so inadequately medicated they couldn’t participate.

They talk about people overdosing, but no one talks about the suicides of people who are denied the help they need because of the drug laws and doctors using a one size fits all approach. One of my neighbors killed himself by using his electric drill on his head…