Thinking of you, Lizz Bowker

https://edsinfo.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/tramadol-causes-spike-in-emergency-room-visits/#comment-3592

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2305936/Tramadol-When-safe-option-painkiller-turns-lethal.html

Lizz, 57, a mother of three, died from an accidental overdose of the opioid painkiller tramadol, which she’d been taking for the previous year for back pain and leg ulcers.  She had taken just two more tablets than her usual daily dose of eight 50mg tablets. ‘She’d been sorting out her weekly pill box and I think she just got confused and took two doses,’ says John, who was married to Lizz for 38 years.

Tragically, her death is by no means an isolated case and highlights the dangers associated with a drug too often regarded as the ‘safer’ option.  Tramadol is an increasingly commonly prescribed painkiller — prescriptions have almost doubled in the past seven years, from 5.9 million in 2006 to 11.1 million in September 2012. Its popularity has soared partly because it’s cheap — now available as a non-branded generic drug, it costs the NHS £1.99 for 100 tablets.

Fears about other painkillers have also made tramadol an attractive option…

Tramadol is regarded by many doctors as a weaker opioid. But in fact it has the same risks of overdose as with morphine…

This dual action makes interactions with other drugs more likely — the risk is if the patient is taking medications or other substances with a sedative effect on the central nervous system, because this can affect breathing and, in some cases, lead to death. So tramadol should not strictly be used if you’re taking sleeping tablets, tranquilisers, and antidepressants, other painkillers that act on the brain, or are under the influence of alcohol.

But despite these well-known interactions, some patients end up being prescribed tramadol as well as sleeping pills and antidepressants, as often pain, mood and sleep problems go together. Deaths from tramadol overdose have soared from just one in 1996 to 154 in 2011. More than 500 people died from tramadol overdoses between 2006 and 2011…

‘Although there’s evidence to show tramadol works well in the short term for conditions such as post-operative pain, the evidence for long- term benefit is disappointing.’ …

Thinking of you, Thomas Murphy

https://edsinfo.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/veterans-suicide-on-va-grounds-spurs-calls-for-help/

http://www.kpho.com/story/29167836/veterans-suicide-on-va-grounds-spurs-calls-for-help

The growing number of veteran suicides is an issue that took center stage at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix on Tuesday. It has been a hot-button issue for veterans for a while, but in Phoenix it was magnified two weeks ago by the suicide of a veteran on VA property.

“I think he’s a martyr for what he did,” veteran Brandon Coleman said of Thomas Murphy, who tragically took his life while sitting in the parking lot of the VA administrative offices in downtown Phoenix.” I believe it was a symbolic act and that he did it because he would want us to talk about it,” Coleman said.

To spur that talk, a few dozen veterans gathered outside the Phoenix VA Hospital on Tuesday to protest what they say is a lack of help for suicidal veterans.

“Thanks for nothing VA,” Murphy wrote in his suicide note. He blamed the VA for doing nothing to help him with his chronic pain and said the VA wanted to take away the pain medication he was receiving…

The latest VA study shows 22 veterans a day commit suicide. But Coleman, a VA whistleblower who worked with suicidal vets, said the study left out statistics from California, Illinois and Texas and the totals are completely false…

“If they gave the American people the real numbers – 45, 50, 60, a day – would you let your kids join the military?” Coleman said. “Absolutely it’s higher than 22,” he said. “They need to do an accurate study that includes all 50 states by someone outside of the VA…

Under comments:

Tammy Swift
The VA South bend is falsifying records to get veterans out faster by manipulating mental health records not asking veterans if they are suicidal and putting answers in there medical files that are not there’s my son recorded his visit and pulled his medical records they don’t match

Freddie Gray protests turn violent in Baltimore

http://krqe.com/ap/freddie-gray-protests-turn-violent-in-baltimore/

BALTIMORE (AP) — A protest over the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured in police custody, started peacefully with thousands marching through downtown streets before the demonstration turned violent and volatile.

The chaotic scene Saturday night prompted the first public remarks from Freddie Gray’s twin sister, who pleaded for peace at a news conference alongside the mayor.

“My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence?” Fredricka Gray said. “Freddie Gray would not want this.”

Just before nightfall, groups of protesters marched from City Hall to the Camden Yards baseball stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles played the Boston Red Sox. Fans were told to briefly stay inside the stadium until the police were able to clear an intersection outside of the venue.

Meanwhile, a smaller “splinter group” looted a convenience store and threw tables and chairs through storefront windows, shattering the glass. One group smashed the window of a department store inside a downtown mall and, at one point, a protester tossed a flaming metal garbage can toward a line of police officers in riot gear as they tried to push back the crowd…

Fire officials said roughly 1,200 protesters gathered at City Hall Saturday afternoon to protest Gray’s death, which has prompted near-daily demonstrations since his death on April 19…

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/thinking-of-you-freddie-gray/

Thinking of you, Freddie Gray

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/21/freddie-gray-death-justice-department-investigation_n_7111522.html

Gray, 25, was taken into custody April 12 after police “made eye contact” with him and another man in an area known for drug activity, police said. Gray was handcuffed and put in a transport van. At some point during his roughly 30-minute ride, the van was stopped and Gray’s legs were shackled when an officer felt he was becoming “irate,” police said.  Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that Gray asked for an inhaler, and then several times asked for medical care. He was eventually rushed to a hospital…

After the probe was announced, at least 1,000 people gathered at a previously planned rally at the site of Gray’s arrest…

Gray’s mother, Gloria Darden, was overcome with grief and carried away at one point by several men, writhing and sobbing uncontrollably, her face obscured by a hood and dark glasses. The crowd parted to let her through. Another female family member collapsed in tears and was also helped away…

http://patch.com/maryland/northbaltimore/baltimore-police-6-officers-suspended-after-freddie-gray-death

The Gray family’s lawyer said his spine was nearly severed from his neck. The 25-year-old remained hospitalized for a week until he died on Sunday, April 19…

When Is a Pain Doctor a Drug Pusher? (2007)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/15/1375189/-The-War-On-Doctors-How-The-DEA-is-Scaring-Doctors-from-Prescribing-Pain-Medications?showAll=yes

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/magazine/17pain-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Ronald McIver is a prisoner in a medium-security federal compound in Butner, N.C. He is 63 years old, of medium height and overweight, with a white Santa Claus beard, white hair and a calm, direct and intelligent manner. He is serving 30 years for drug trafficking, and so will likely live there the rest of his life…

Contrary to the old saw, pain kills. A body in pain produces high levels of hormones that cause stress to the heart and lungs. Pain can cause blood pressure to spike, leading to heart attacks and strokes. Pain can also consume so much of the body’s energy that the immune system degrades. Severe chronic pain sometimes leads to suicide…

Even a predisposition to addiction, however, doesn’t mean a patient will become addicted to opioids. Vast numbers do not…

For individuals who are properly titrated and monitored, there is no ceiling on opioid dosage. In this sense, high-dose prescription opioids can be safer than taking high doses of aspirin, Tylenol or Advil, which cause organ damage in high doses, regardless of how those doses are administered. (Every year, an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Americans die from gastrointestinal bleeding associated with drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin, according to a paper published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.) …

According to the pharmaceutical research company IMS Health, prescriptions for opioids have risen over the past few years. They are used now more than ever before. Yet study after study has concluded that pain is still radically undertreated. The Stanford University Medical Center survey found that only 50 percent of chronic-pain sufferers who had spoken to a doctor about their pain got sufficient relief. According to the American Pain Society, an advocacy group, fewer than half of cancer patients in pain get adequate pain relief…

In addition to medical considerations real or imagined, there is another deterrent to opioid use: fear. According to the D.E.A., 71 doctors were arrested last year for crimes related to “diversion” — the leakage of prescription medicine into illegal drug markets. The D.E.A. also opened 735 investigations of doctors, and an investigation alone can be enough to put a doctor out of business, as doctors can lose their licenses and practices and have their homes, offices and cars seized even if no federal criminal charges are ever filed…

Student’s Mysterious Death Raises Doubts on Drug Informer Use

http://www.hightimes.com/read/students-mysterious-death-raises-doubts-drug-informer-use

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Nearly a year after North Dakota college student Andrew Sadek’s body was found in a river with a bullet in the head, his mother still struggles with how her shy son who liked to bowl and belonged to a club of electricity enthusiasts got mixed up in the dangerous world of illegal drugs.

Tammy Sadek believes the answer is that Andrew signed his own death warrant when he agreed to become a confidential informant for police after they caught him selling marijuana. Authorities say he knew what he was getting into and agreed to help them of his own free will…

American Doctors Are Killing Themselves and No One Is Talking About It

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/23/american-doctors-are-killing-themselves-and-no-one-is-talking-about-it.html

Seems like the only time we talk about suicide is when celebrities are involved.

The last night of his life, Greg Miday was fearful that authorities at the Missouri PHP, which in 2009 had ordered him to 90 days in a 12-step rehab and five years of random drug tests, would make drastic sanctions after he had failed at their forced plan of abstinence...

Suicide, of course, is never rational, and those who can best explain their decision are no longer here…

Of course suicide can be rational, especially for the terminally ill. And if anyone wants to know about the different reasons people try to commit suicide, there are these things called blogs that can be checked out.

Instead, many self-medicate. About 9 percent of the U.S. population suffers from an alcohol- or substance-use disorder. Among doctors, that figure is between 10 to 15 percent…

That percentage for doctors seems a little low, especially when you compare the U.S. population to the number of doctors.

“He liked drinking,” Karen says. “It gave him confidence. He loved being the life of the party.”

There’s a reason why alcohol is called “liquid courage” and a “social lubricant.”  But it doesn’t seem like this doctor lacked confidence, or else he wouldn’t have been described as condescending.  Perhaps where he lacked confidence was in social situations, as doctors spend an awful lot of time alone studying while classmates are partying and continuing their high school popularity contests.  Yet, this doctor seemed to party a lot, so that can’t be it…

Being popular must be a little like being rich or good looking — you’re never really sure if your friends love you or your good looks, popularity, or money.  Some people need to be popular like drug addicts need drugs — I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems like it could be.  I remember Matt’s story (see blog entitled “Matt and Jane”), and how he described the feeling of confidence that Vicodin gave him in social situations.  And I guess if you’re an introvert that really wants to be an extrovert, drugs can help you get there.

But after reading Greg’s story (as told by others, of course), it seems like he just gave up.  Too much pressure.  He was described as being “adored,” and I’m guessing that must be a hard thing to maintain.  Hopefully, Greg’s story will be a catalyst for change.  (Hey, Greg, say Hi to Robin Williams for me, okay?)

Thinking of you, Roderick “Rudd” Walker

http://www.hightimes.com/read/lsd-lifer-dies-prison-42

To receive a life sentence with no possibility of parole for a non-violent offense is an egregious miscarriage of justice. The only penalty more severe in the US is the death penalty. And the truth is, Walker’s unconscionably harsh sentence—coupled with the lack of medical care in prison—killed him…

Another pain doctor taken down by the DEA – more pain patients forced to the street

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=9722#comment-9619

http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2015-03-13/story/feds-indict-clay-county-doctor-death-patient

“I trusted him with my life,” said Hanson, 56. “He was a real doctor. He truly cared. I think this is totally insane.”

The 2010 Times-Union story said an autopsy showed 38-year-old soon-to-be grandmother Joy Womack had anti-depressants, Valium and painkillers in her system. She’d also taken the anxiety drug Xanax, added to her pill regimen two days before by her doctor, identified in the story as Sachs. The clinic where he worked was identified as Physician Pain Management in Green Cove Springs.

Womack’s family told investigators she occasionally over-medicated herself to deal with unrelenting pain from hip-replacement surgery a decade prior. But she wasn’t a recreational user, and she followed her doctor’s orders, the family said…

After Womack’s fatal overdose, Sachs told the Times-Union he learned that she had taken a drug he didn’t prescribe — Valium…

Sachs blamed the four accidental deaths in 2009 on patients’ doctor-shopping and taking too much medication, and said he was careful to warn his patients about health risks. Sachs, trained as an anesthesiologist, had practiced pain management since 2001, the story said…

Sachs denied his clinic was a pill mill, noting he did exams, drug screenings and background checks and required patients to sign contracts saying they won’t abuse their medications.

Sachs faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years up to life in federal prison on count one, and up to 20 years in prison on each of the other counts if convicted.

This is our drug war

http://www.hightimes.com/read/mexico-narco-gang-decapitates-mayoral-candidate

Aide Nava, 42-year-old woman running for mayor in Mexico’s conflicted southern state of Guerrero, was found decapitated March 11… Her husband Francisco Quiñonez Ramírez, the former mayor of Ahuacuotzingo, was gunned down by an assassin in June 2014. Their son, Francisco Quiñonez Nava, was kidnapped in October 2012 and remains missing…

Police Sell Drugs to Man, then Kill Him

http://www.hightimes.com/read/police-sell-drugs-man-then-kill-him

A report from the Florida Times-Union indicates that 48-year-old Andrew Anthony Williams was gunned down by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies the night of Friday March 6, when he attempted to hightail it out of the situation after being informed that he had just purchased dope from a cop…

Williams was hit by so much gunfire that the only figure any news source has managed to articulate has been that he was shot “an unknown number of times.”

About Daniel Somers

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=9623

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Somers

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2641104/Sgt-Daniel-Somers-bullet-head-leaving-chilling-note-damning-scandal-hit-VA-failing-treat-PTSD-Here-parents-expose-abject-failure-charged-caring-war-heroes.html

At around 9pm on June 10, 2013, the Army veteran walked a few blocks from the Phoenix townhouse he shared with wife, Angel, and put a bullet in his head…

He left behind a suicide letter, devastating in its eloquence. He said that the government had ‘turned around and abandoned’ him and described physical and mental suffering so great that suicide was, ‘a mercy killing.’

According to his father, when Daniel finally found a psychiatrist with whom he felt he could work, the man retired leaving Daniel in limbo once more, his psychiatric care abruptly halted…

He suffered irritable bowel syndrome so severe that, he wrote, ‘it literally controlled my schedule.’  He had ‘excruciating headaches,’ chronic fatigue that meant, ‘just holding my head upright requires more effort than I can bear.’  And he described fibromyalgia so ‘grinding’ that at times he could barely move. Fighting to keep his own emotions in check Howard said, ‘We learned that he and Angel air-hugged because it was so painful for him to be touched…

From Daniel’s suicide letter:

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture…

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured ‘overprescribing epidemic’, which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true.

Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak…

4/13/2014, Murder charges dropped against West Palm Beach doctor

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/murder-charges-dropped-against-west-palm-beach-doc/nfRNC/

At one time, prosecutors said they intended to seek the death penalty against [Dr. John] Christensen for causing the 2007 overdose death of Florence Faye Garrett, 47, of West Palm Beach, and the 2008 overdose death of Pawel Staniszewski, 31, of Royal Palm Beach.  After further researching the law, Burns said she was convinced the charges were improper. Until 2010, only certain drugs were listed in a state statute that allows prosecutors to charge people with first-degree murder by drug distribution. For instance, methadone, a drug that was in Staniszewski’s system, wasn’t one of them…

Similar murder claims were made against Drs. Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo, who were charged in federal court with causing the deaths of six and two patients, respectively. A jury last year cleared them of the charges that could have sent them to prison for life. Both instead were convicted of money-laundering in connection with their work for clinics run by Wellington resident Chris George