ACE Hardware stores are refusing to sell goods to water protectors at the direction of Morton Cty Sheriff
11/30/2016 04:03 am ET
Seven weeks after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officially withdrew its plan to ban kratom, the federal government is once again set to decide the fate of the herb and the people who rely on it for pain relief and other treatment.
The DEA had initially planned to use its emergency scheduling power to push through the ban without input from the public, despite concerns from lawmakers and scientists ― as well as kratom users ― that the move would do more harm than good. In October, however, the DEA opened a public comment period allowing individuals to weigh in on the agency’s decision to place mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two active compounds in kratom, in Schedule I. Substances in this category include heroin and LSD and are considered to have no known medical benefit and a high potential for abuse.
With the comment period set to close on Thursday, the DEA will now have to take into account the nearly 9,000 submissions from people who wanted to voice their opinions about this proposed expansion of the war on drugs.
But kratom isn’t in the clear yet. The DEA is currently awaiting the results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis on the potential harms and health benefits of the herb, which will determine if kratom truly poses an “imminent hazard to the public safety,” as the agency initially claimed in August.
The DEA doesn’t know when it will get the results of the FDA’s review, Russell Baer, a spokesperson for the agency, told The Huffington Post.
“We’ve asked the FDA to expedite their analysis, but they’ve not given us any indication as to when that may be done, other than as soon as practical,” said Baer. “They’re involved in an exhaustive scientific review and evaluation, so these things do take time.”
Although Baer said he expects the DEA to wait for the FDA’s analysis before deciding on an appropriate schedule for kratom ― or whether it should be scheduled at all ― he noted that the agency could still proceed with emergency scheduling even in the absence of more concrete scientific evidence.
The DEA’s next steps will have huge implications for people like Joshua Levy. In the video above, Levy explains that he turned to kratom after struggling with dependence on the opioid painkillers he’d been prescribed following a hit-and-run accident. Like many kratom users, he says the herb gave him back the life that had been taken from him by addiction and other side-effects of narcotic painkillers.
“Since I started taking kratom, since I had gotten off of the pain pills, my life has basically opened up dramatically,” Levy told HuffPost. “I got a new job. I’m building a friendship up with my sister that I haven’t had in a long time. I’m not lazy anymore. I don’t want to isolate myself. I want to go out, I want to be out of the house.”
The kratom community is full of success stories like Levy’s. But together, they form only anecdotal evidence of the herb’s benefits, which is not enough to support a more official confirmation of its medicinal value.
Experts like Andrew Kruegel, an associate research scientist at Columbia University, hope the DEA will allow kratom to remain legal so they can keep working to unlock the herb’s potential.
Kruegel’s studies have shown that kratom can be used to alleviate mild pain, and that the plant’s negative side effects are relatively minor.
“As a scientist, I try to be as objective as possible and not overstate the promise of kratom,” said Kruegel. “We just don’t know that much about the plant yet.”
But Kruegel also has bigger hopes for kratom, which he believes can be used to aid in the development of safer alternatives to the prescription opioids that claimed more than 18,000 lives in the U.S. in 2014 due to overdose.
“Of course, if it’s in Schedule I, historically that greatly limits the ability to do research on it,” he said.
After veteran Tony Macie came back from Iraq in 2007, he learned he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Macie went to the VA “on and off” and tried the standard therapy.
“And then I kind of just fell off the radar, secluded, and did my own thing and got really dependent on a lot of the meds,” Macie explains in a video by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
The retired sergeant then became part of a clinical trial organized by MAPS that was testing an unusual substance in an attempt to heal people who hadn’t responded to traditional therapies for PTSD.
That substance, MDMA, commonly referred to as “Molly,” is the pure form of something commonly thought of as an illegal party drug — ecstasy. (Most nonresearch substances that are sold as ecstasy or Molly are not actually pure MDMA and can be significantly more dangerous.) The trial pairs MDMA with psychotherapy.
“One of the first things I said when it kicked in was, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for,'” Macie says in the video. “I reconnected with myself and did a lot of internal work, and afterwards it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
The trial Macie was involved in and other Phase 2 clinical studies conducted by MAPS have been so effective that the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday agreed to allow large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials — the third and final in the three sets of human trials required before the FDA will consider a new drug for approval — to go forward, according to a report in The New York Times.
If those trials continue to show that MDMA effectively treats PTSD, ecstasy could enter clinical use as soon as 2021, fitting the timeline that MAPS has been working toward for some time now.
And so far, MDMA has consistently been very effective.
One of the early studies conducted by MAPS showed that 83% of the study participants no longer showed signs of PTSD two months after treatment, and long-term follow-ups conducted an average of four years later showed that most of those benefits stuck. That was a proof-of-concept study, with just 20 participants, all of whom had psychotherapy as well. (Twelve were given MDMA, and eight were given a placebo; 25% of those on the placebo improved, too.)
Though small and preliminary, the results were encouraging enough to help lead to Phase 2 clinical trials, which MAPS announced were coming to an end last March. These trials consisted of at least eight studies that Brad Burge, the director of communications for MAPS, recently told Inverse treated 136 people using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
Those trials dealt with patients who were struggling with PTSD from a variety of sources. They included military veterans, people who had been sexually assaulted, firefighters, and police officers, all who had not responded to traditional treatments.
The data released from those studies so far is very promising, with a large percentage of patients not showing any signs of PTSD more than a year after completing the therapy.
“We can sometimes see this kind of remarkable improvement in traditional psychotherapy, but it can take years, if it happens at all,” Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist involved in the research, told The Times.
The final tests will involve hundreds of people and must be conducted before the FDA decides to approve a new medication. MAPS has applied for “breakthrough” therapy status, which could speed up the approval process.
“Phase 3 starts around 2017, and it will take four to five years to finish,” Burge has previously said. “So that will put it at early 2021 for FDA approval.”
MAPS is mostly raising money itself to fund what it describes as a roughly $20 million plan to complete these trials, which are largely not of interest to pharmaceutical companies since the patent on MDMA has expired. That will mean significant fundraising is required.
Last year the organization reported $9.1 million in assets, more than $5 million of which was a bequest from a longtime board member that has been earmarked specifically for those Phase 3 trials. In fiscal-year 2015, MAPS raised a combined $2.99 million from 2,500 donors. It said in its most recent annual report that “substantially increasing our donor base” would be necessary to move forward with Phase 3 trials.
It’s only after those trials wrap up that we’ll know for sure whether using MDMA to treat PTSD is safe and effective. MAPS calls making that happen its “top priority.”
The group is also conducting research testing the efficacy of MDMA-assisted therapy to treat social anxiety in autistic adults and to treat anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses like cancer.
“It’s a really interesting and a very powerful new approach,” Thomas Insel, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s not just taking MDMA. It’s taking it in the context of a treatment that involves improved insight and increased skills and using this in the broader context of psychotherapy.”
As Macie says in the MAPS video, “this tool, it may not be the end all, but it [could] be a tool that can help a lot of people drastically.”
By Peter Sullivan – 11/30/16 06:40 PM EST
The House on Wednesday passed a medical innovation bill aimed at curing diseases, with the measure securing bipartisan support after months of negotiations.
The legislation, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, passed 392-26. It seeks to speed up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of new drugs while investing new money in medical research.
The package also includes a range of other healthcare priorities, including $1 billion over two years to fight the epidemic of opioid addiction and $1.8 billion for Vice President Biden’s cancer “moonshot.”
The opioid money releases some pressure from a long-running dispute between the parties. Congress passed a bipartisan opioid bill before the election, but Democrats criticized that measure for lacking funding.
The cures legislation also includes a mental health portion that seeks to reorganize and improve accountability for government mental health programs.
Republicans have portrayed the mental health bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), as their response to mass shootings, though that messaging has been emphasized less now that it is part of a larger package.
Democrats agree reforms are needed in mental health, though they note that the bill lacks funding. They say the bigger policy response to mass shootings should be gun control.
House leaders are hoping that the bipartisan vote Wednesday puts pressure on the Senate, which is expected to take up the cures bill sometime before leaving town next month.
The bill faces a bumpier path in the upper chamber, where Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have blasted it as a giveaway to pharmaceutical companies.
Still, enough Democrats are expected to support the measure to get it across the finish line.
“This bill, which expedites the approval of drugs and devices, includes literally billions of dollars in additional spending for health research so that we can find the cures and the answers to what patients are demanding today,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the measure’s main sponsor.
The White House gave the measure a boost on Tuesday night by announcing that it “strongly” supports passage, pointing in particular to the opioid funding and the funding for the cancer moonshot.
The liberal detractors note that the new research funding, which is helping to bring some Democrats on board, is not mandatory funding, meaning it is not guaranteed.
Still, the $4.8 billion over 10 years is set aside in a separate fund and not subject to the usual budget caps.
Sanders and Warren have denounced the bill as helping out pharmaceutical companies, in part by lowering the FDA’s regulations for approving their new drugs, while doing nothing to deal with the hot-button issue of high drug prices.
Some consumer groups have also criticized the measure, fearing that in speeding up the FDA’s approval process, it would lower safety standards.
The measure allows for ideas like sometimes using “real world evidence,” rather than more rigorous and time-consuming clinical trials, in drug approvals.
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), a lead negotiator on the bill in the House, rejected criticisms of the FDA changes.
“It’s just a way of trying to address these cures in a more effective way, the way the public has asked for, without sacrificing any safety,” Pallone said.
The mental health portion of the legislation establishes a new assistant secretary for mental health in the Department of Health and Human Services as well as a chief medical officer. Murphy argues that these positions will bring more accountability and medical knowledge to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency he has criticized as ineffective.
The bill also authorizes grants for areas like suicide prevention.
The mental health measure is significantly scaled down from the more sweeping version originally proposed by Murphy, though. It does not lift restrictions on Medicaid paying for care at mental health facilities, which would have cost billions of dollars.
The measure also includes elements from a companion mental health bill in the Senate from Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
Both the Cures and mental health portions of the bill come after more than a year of bipartisan negotiations.
By Terray Sylvester | CANNON BALL, N.D.
More than 2,000 U.S. military veterans plan to form a human shield to protect protesters of a pipeline project near a Native American reservation in North Dakota, organizers said, just ahead of a federal deadline for activists to leave the camp they have been occupying.
It comes as North Dakota law enforcement backed away from a previous plan to cut off supplies to the camp – an idea quickly abandoned after an outcry and with law enforcement’s treatment of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters increasingly under the microscope.
The protesters have spent months rallying against plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.
Protesters include various Native American tribes as well as environmentalists and even actors including Shailene Woodley.
State officials issued an order on Monday for activists to vacate the Oceti Sakowin camp, located on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, citing harsh weather conditions.
The state’s latest decision not to stop cars entering the protest site indicated local officials will not actively enforce Monday’s emergency order to evacuate the camp issued by Governor Jack Dalrymple.
Dalrymple warned on Wednesday that it was “probably not feasible” to reroute the pipeline, but said he had requested a meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council to rebuild a relationship.
“We need to begin now to talk about how we are going to return to a peaceful relationship,” he said on a conference call.
The 1,172-mile (1,885 km) pipeline project, owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP.N), is mostly complete, except for a segment planned to run under Lake Oahe, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River.
Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a contingent of more than 2,000 U.S. military veterans, intends to go to North Dakota by this weekend and form a human wall in front of police, protest organizers said on a Facebook page. Organizers could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I figured this was more important than anything else I could be doing,” Guy Dull Knife, 69, a Vietnam War Army veteran, told Reuters at the main camp.
Dull Knife, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota, said he has been camping at the protest site for months.
Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rob Keller said in an email his agency was aware of the veterans’ plans, but would not comment further on how law enforcement will deal with demonstrators.
Former U.S. Marine Michael A. Wood Jr is leading the effort along with Wesley Clark Jr, a writer whose father is retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark.
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii and a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, has said on Twitter she will join the protesters on Sunday.
Local law enforcement said on Tuesday they planned a blockade of the camp, but local and state officials later retreated, saying they would only check vehicles for certain prohibited supplies like propane, and possibly issue fines.
Dalrymple on Wednesday said state officials never contemplated forcibly removing protesters and there had been no plans to block food or other supplies from the camp. “That would be a huge mistake from a humanitarian standpoint,” he said on the conference call.
He also warned protesters that while emergency responders will try to reach anyone in need, that would be contingent on weather conditions.
Protesters, who refer to themselves as “water protectors,” have been gearing up for the winter while they await the Army Corps decision on whether to allow Energy Transfer Partners to tunnel under the river. That decision has been delayed twice by the Army Corps.
(Additional reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Matthew Lewis)
By Christopher Ingraham November 30 at 12:33 PM
In an “exit interview” with Rolling Stone magazine, President Obama said that marijuana use should be treated as a public-health issue similar to tobacco or alcohol and called the current patchwork of state and federal laws regarding the drug “untenable.”
“Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse,” Obama said. “And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”
Obama has made comments to this effect before. In a 2014 interview with the New Yorker magazine he said that marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” More recently, he told TV host Bill Maher, “I think we’re going to have to have a more serious conversation about how we are treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”
In the Rolling Stone interview published this week, Obama also reiterated his long-standing position that changing federal marijuana laws is not something the president can do unilaterally. “Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict,” he said, “but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration recently turned down a petition to lessen federal restrictions on marijuana, citing the drug’s lack of “accepted medical use” and its “high potential for abuse.” Congress could resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws by amending the federal Controlled Substances Act, but it has declined to do so.
Marijuana legalization advocates have been frustrated at what they see as Obama’s unwillingness to use his bully pulpit to advocate for their cause. “It would have been very helpful if he had taken more concrete positive action on this issue before it was almost time to vacate the Oval Office,” Tom Angell of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority said in a statement. “That this president didn’t apply pressure on the DEA to reschedule marijuana this year will likely go down as one of the biggest disappointments of the Obama era.”
Your daily policy cheat sheet from Wonkblog.
There is little disagreement on either side of the legalization debate that personal marijuana use should be treated primarily as a public-health issue. Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading anti-legalization group, says that it “seeks to establish a rational policy” for marijuana use and possession that “no longer relies only on the criminal justice system to address people whose only crime is smoking or possessing a small amount of marijuana.”
But there is vehement disagreement over what such a “rational policy” would look like. SAM advocates for a policy of decriminalization of marijuana use, but not full-scale commercial legalization. Groups like the Marijuana Policy Project, on the other hand, are pushing for the creation of Colorado-style commercial marketplaces where it is completely legal to buy, sell and consume marijuana.
Obama has been hesitant throughout his second term to push for one approach or the other. His Justice Department has created a policy explicitly allowing states to legalize marijuana as they see fit, but he has made no effort to alter the strict federal prohibition on marijuana that complicates any effort to create a legal nationwide marijuana industry.
Pro-legalization advocates are worried that the current Justice Department policy of noninterference on marijuana legalization could be reversed by an incoming Trump administration stocked with harsh critics of such legalization. Trump himself has said that the matter should be left up to the states.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Obama hinted that he may be more vocal on the issue once he leaves office. “I will have the opportunity as a private citizen to describe where I think we need to go” on marijuana, he said.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The Justice Department filed a statement of interest late yesterday in the case of Kenny et al. v. Wilson et al. articulating the United States’ position that laws invoked to charge juveniles must include clear standards to ensure that they are enforced consistently and free from discrimination. In the filing, the department explains that vague statues enforced arbitrarily contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” the cycle of harsh school discipline that brings young people into the justice system and disproportionately affects, among others, students of color and students with disabilities.
In Kenny, a case before the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, a proposed class of students and a non-profit youth services organization allege that two state laws – the disturbing schools statute and the disorderly conduct statute – are unconstitutionally vague. As a consequence, plaintiffs assert, the laws do not provide students with notice of what conduct is criminally prohibited and they lead to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.
“The criminalization of everyday and ordinary childhood behavior under imprecise statutes can have disastrous and discriminatory consequences,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Laws must provide officers with sufficient guidance to distinguish between innocent and delinquent conduct and ensure that all children receive the full protections of our Constitution. We must remain vigilant to ensure law enforcement practices do not unnecessarily remove children from the classroom and place them in a pipeline to prison.”
In the filing, the department explains that “significant racial disparities in the enforcement of a criminal statute may indicate that the statute is unconstitutionally vague” in violation of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Laws that lack clear standards and do not provide sufficient guidance to law enforcement can lead to arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement. In Kenny, the plaintiffs allege that African-American students are nearly four times more likely to be referred for criminal “disturbing schools” charges than white students and that the disparity is even starker in certain counties. Plaintiffs further allege that such racial disparities in the school context are not explained by differences in behavior across racial groups.
In Kenny, the plaintiffs also allege that enforcement of the two state statutes drives large numbers of young people into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, criminalizes common youthful behavior, likely results in disparities on the basis of disability and subjects students to punishment that is not proportionate to the charged misconduct.
The department’s statement of interest also provides examples from the department’s juvenile justice and law enforcement experience to illustrate the link between vague standards and unconstitutional practices. The brief represents one of the department’s many efforts in recent years to address the school-to-prison pipeline.
Kenny et al. v. Wilson et al. was filed in August 2016. The court will hold a hearing on all pending motions on Dec. 8, 2016.
Well, our government is at it again.
It is not clear if this is the last stop, or where in the process we even are, but as best I can tell: happening any moment, Congressman Tim Murphy (R, Pennsylvania) will be making another speech at another hearing about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) which is now part of a new bill, H.R. 34.
H.R. 2646 was the controversial legislative package that did everything from increasing and sanctioning state-sponsored forced and court-ordered psychiatry to the re-organization of SAMHSA. There was not a group that went unscathed: babies, pregnant and lactating women, children, teens, adults, and veterans. The mixing of drug experimentation, programming, payments, delivery, tracking systems, prison systems, psychiatric systems, medical systems, educational systems—everything accounted for in 996 pages.
This new bill, introduced on the day after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2016 is part of a pattern of the government trying to slip controversial psychiatric policy thru, when no one is thought to be watching. We recently saw this with the FDA’s shock treatment regulation for comment being released days before the new year and due the day after a celebrated holiday.
This bill, H.R. 34, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 [21st Century Cures Act] is the subject of a hearing at the Capitol, in H-313, tonight on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM. Among the most problematic issues this bill presents are multiple provisions for forced psychiatry not limited to IOC/AOT, ACT Teams, and Prison Psychiatry.
H.R. 34 also includes: SAMHSA reorganization, condoning of HIPPAA violations, a study of peer support specialists for future controls of the field, multiple attacks on young people and veterans, and a host of other potential human rights violations. Psychiatry is a fraud and this bill perpetuates it.
Tell your legislators to VOTE NO on H.R. 34!
Demand that your legislators stop sneaking controversial, damaging bills into other bills at the last minute. What is being called a “simple parliamentary procedure” seems rather shady to me. The legislature has not been able to pass some version of Murphy’s bill for years, and now they are going to try to sneak it in merged withthe 21st Century Cures Act under the title Education, Research and Tsunami Warning Act of 2015. These actions further problematize our legislative processes.
It is urgent that people realize that no child will grow up without psychiatric evaluation. All people will become, in a generation or two, acclimated to being psychiatrized; psychiatry and its arms of drugs and institutions will become even more standard in our society.
At the very moment that people are becoming more vocal about the need for equality, eliminating racism and racist practices and systems, calling out sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of structural oppression, and addressing the outright fraud and other structural problems of psychiatry and its subdivisions, the government will solidify psychiatric practice in our society. This includes a great expansion of psychiatric reach into the prison industry and court systems.
Do not be fooled, this is a one way path that will allow the new administration the type of reach they want to keep us contained as they break down the existing structure, creating greater disparities, and further subjecting us, as a people who are already often oppressed, into further social control and subjugation to psychiatry.
Follow up with your legislators, and all legislators you can. Inform them about the dangers of psychiatry. Inform them about the dangers of this bill. Tell them that a bill that has been combined with multiple other bills totaling 996 pages (and involving who knows how many billions of dollars in taxpayer resources)—a bill that was introduced 3 business days prior to its hearing and 4 days prior to its assumed vote, under the name of a bill that has already passed, but has been deleted and replaced by this mess that has not been able to pass on its own for years—is not acceptable.
I am sure analyses of what the bill entails need to be made and many are working on making them. For now, take action. Call your elected officials today, tonight, tomorrow, and continue to do so to make your voice heard. The pro-psychiatry, pro-forced psychiatric treatment advocates are launching campaigns against us. We need to speak out, once again, for ourselves. No one else will. Make your calls now.
Those who want to take a closer look at this bill, please read on:
Even a cursory glance at the Table of Contents and the twenty-five titles it encompasses makes one have to take a deep breath to get the scope of how this bill can fundamentally transform our society—and not for the better. Division A – 21st Century Cures starts off with Title I, NIH Innovation Projects and State Responses to Opioid Abuse, Title II includes Innovation Projects and includes privacy protections for human research subjects, a section called “High Risk, High Reward Research” is included here, as is the development of a “Taskforce specific to pregnant and lactating women”. These need to be read carefully. Title III is Development and includes provisions such as patient-focused drug development, advancing new drug therapies, and a host of other sections designed for research on physical health.
Title V addresses Savings and this looks at issues of Medicare and Medicaid, and affects the Affordable Care Act.
Section VI looks at Leadership and Accountability and this is where the re-organization of SAMHSA is laid out and the provisions for the establishment of the “Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee” can be found.
Tell your legislators to VOTE NO on H.R. 34, Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015.
Title VII is designed for “Ensuring mental and substance use disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery programs keep pace with science and technology” and has both regional and national goals.
Title VIII is for “Supporting state prevention activities and responses to mental health and substance use disorder needs” that work on block grants.
Title IX is for “Promoting access to mental health and substance use disorder care” and these include grants for “treatment and recovery for homeless individuals”; “jail diversion programs”; “promoting integration of primary and behavioral health care”; “National Suicide Prevention Line” and other types of programs that track and turn in people to the system, acting as a pipeline to psychiatry. Section 9014 is Assisted outpatient treatment” and section 9015 is the Assertive Community Treatment grant program. It is important for people to specifically speak out against Sections 9014 and 9015, as inherently problematic for protecting human rights.
Subtitle B of Title IX is focused on “Strengthening the Health Care Workforce” and this includes education and training programs. Subtitle C targets college campuses.
Title X is for “Strengthening mental and substance use disorder care for children and adolescents” and increases pediatric access, programming, treatment, and interventions for young people, “screening and treatment for maternal depression” and Section 10006 is particularly worrisome, “Infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment”.
Title XI is the loss of privacy rights under HIPAA, (you may recall issues around Matsui’s billi that was basically incorporated into the structure).
Title XII further strengthens “Mental Health Parity” which works on the premise that psychiatry is as legitimate a science as physical health medicine, and perpetuates the fraud of the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries, ensuring also that training, education, information and awareness of eating disorders are covered under these processes.
Title XIII is for “Mental Health and Safe Communities” Subtitle A includes the expansion and over reach of Law Enforcement and Psychiatry working hand in hand through Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (torture) “Assisted Outpatient Commitment” (as a second section in this same bill, here Section 14002. Title XIII also includes “Federal drug and mental health courts”; “mental health in the judicial system”; “Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Initiatives”; “mental health training for Federal uniformed services”; “school mental health intervention teams”; “Active-shooter training for law enforcement”; “Improving Department of Justice data collection on mental illness involved in crime”; and “Reports on the number of mentally ill offenders in prison”, further attempting to discriminate against people with psychiatric histories. In this section, the limited patients’ rights for the Department of Veterans Affairs are noted, and this of course is and continues to be a concern, as example, we know veterans and their fetuses are being subjected to shock treatment ii.
Subtitle B focuses on “Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health” in prisons and jails, local and federal law enforcement training, and GAO reporting and needs to be looked at very carefully in the future.
Title XV addresses Medicare Part A and reimbursements. Title XVI, Medicare Part B and treatment/payments/ and Continuing Access to Hospitals Act of 2016; all of which need thorough review.
Title TVII includes other Medicare provisions and XVIII still other provisions around employer health reimbursement.
Division D is “Child and Family Services and Support” and includes Title XIX, “Investing in Prevention and Family Services”, restructuring prevention services, programs, and payments as they relate to foster care, and perhaps one of the few sensible things, Section 19032, “Development of a statewide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities”.
Title XXI looks also and securing support for foster families and children and Title XXII addresses “reauthorizing adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs”.
Title XXIII is for “Technical Corrections” for data and programming and “Technical corrections to State requirement to address the developmental needs of young children”.
Title XXIV is for “Ensuring states reinvest savings resulting from increase in adoption assistance” and like “Title XXV, Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results” and the extension of the TANF program and other types of social supports, this needs to be read and understood.
Lauren Tenney, PhD, is a psychiatric survivor and activist first involuntarily committed at age 15. Her work aims to expose the institutional corruption which is a source of profit for organized psychiatry, and to abolish state sponsored human rights violations, such as murder, torture and slavery. http://www.laurentenney.us
Updated 12:16 PM ET, Mon November 28, 2016
This is the second part of a series on health care refugees. Read the first part here.
(CNN)Rich and Kim Muszynski know when their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, is about to have a grand mal seizure because her pupils enlarge, and she’ll seem to fixate at something in the distance that only she can see.
Then it starts. Abby’s extremities shake. She gasps for air.
By the time she turned 3, Abby had tried about eight different anti-seizure medications. None of them worked very well. Panicked to see their daughter getting worse and worse, the Muszynskis drove three hours to Orlando to see Dr. Ngoc Minh Le, a board certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist.
Le told them that chances of another anti-seizure drug working on Abby were tiny. He recommended medical marijuana. The timing was right: Just months before, Gov. Rick Scott had legalized the use of a type of non-euphoric cannabis called Charlotte’s Web.
The formulation had been a miracle for a little girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi. The Muszynskis had seen her story on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed.”
Charlotte’s Web did help Abby, but not as much as it had helped Charlotte. She still was having about two grand mal seizures a week, each lasting about eight to 10 minutes.
Le explained to Kim and Rich that Charlotte’s Web has only tiny amounts of THC, one of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Medical marijuana with higher levels of THC was Abby’s best hope, he told them.
But at this point, in 2015, high-THC marijuana wasn’t legal in Florida for Abby. To get it, the Muszynskis would have to move, leaving behind their friends and family, including two older children.
Kim thought about Colorado, where Charlotte Figi lived. She’d checked with parents of disabled children there, and they told her the state had a fair and efficient Medicaid program.
Getting to Colorado would be a challenge: Abby’s doctors said it wasn’t safe for her to fly on a commercial plane or to take a long car ride across the country.
The Muszynskis began their final fight with Florida Medicaid — one that would leave Kim and Abby homeless for several days.
Kim says that in mid-August, she started talking to Medicaid officials about getting an air ambulance to Colorado. On September 19, Rich drove the family car out to Colorado. They planned for Kim to attend the closing on their house in Boynton Beach on September 23 and leave on the air ambulance with Abby that afternoon.
Kim had emailed and spoken with various Florida officials, and it seemed to her that everything was in order. “Please give a call today so we can finalize travel arrangements!” Mary Joyce, a senior registered nurse supervisor at Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, wrote in an email to Kim on September 20.
But then several days passed, and there was still no final approval for the transport.
Their house sold, Kim and Abby were homeless. They moved in with Kim’s best friend and her husband. All of Abby’s equipment, like her bed with guardrails, was with Rich on their way to Colorado. Kim slept with Abby on the floor.
Abby’s cries at night kept Kim’s friends awake. Kim wrote emails begging Florida officials for help. But for the first time, she added someone not previously included on the email: this CNN reporter.
Three days later, she learned that the transport had been approved.
A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration gave this statement:
“In this case relocation services are not covered by Medicaid, per federal Medicaid guidelines. However, thanks to Safety Net funds made available by Governor Scott and the Legislature, the state supported this family by covering the costs to provide relocation services via the air ambulance of the mother’s choice. Working with the family, the state arranged transport as quickly as possible,” wrote the spokeswoman, Mallory McManus.
Fatima Hussein , IndyStar 10:17 p.m. EST November 27, 2016
Criminal defense attorney Jeff Cardella wears his beliefs on his sleeve, in the form of a pair of large, pastel yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” cuff links.
In between explanations of his libertarian principles, the 34-year-old Cardella said his clients may not always be the most sympathetic individuals, but they deserve their rights, too.
Cardella filed a federal class-action lawsuit this month, on behalf of Leroy Washington, whose vehicle was taken by police in September. Washington was arrested and charged with resisting law enforcement, dealing in marijuana and obstruction of justice.
The suit argues that the Indiana law that allows police to seize property from alleged drug dealers and others, regardless of their guilt or innocence, violates criminal defendants’ constitutional right to due process.
It “allows the executive branch to seize and hold the vehicle of an owner for several months without affording the owner the right to a postseizure preforfeiture hearing to challenge the seizure,” according to the complaint.
It’s an argument that could, if it prevails in court, have a sweeping effect on law enforcement.
Criminal defense attorney Jeff Cardella stands in front of the Justice Statue at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo: Michelle Pemberton / IndyStar)
According to Justice Department data, Indiana State Police seized more than $2.2 million in personal property from Indiana residents in 2014. In Marion County, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department seized roughly $48,022 in personal property that year, according to the data.
The suit, limited specifically to vehicles in IMPD possession, does not seek monetary damages. Rather, Washington wants law enforcement to give back his vehicle, and the vehicles of countless individuals whose property was seized under Indiana’s civil forfeiture laws.
Cardella also seeks a reduction in the period of time law enforcement can hold property without stating a reason for seizing it.
“It’s a matter of protecting the constitutional rights of my clients,” said Cardella, a professor at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, who is vehemently opposed to “unjust government taking.”
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD Police Chief Troy Riggs are named defendants in the complaint.
Curry told IndyStar that there are a variety of reasons why the law, as it exists today, is reasonable and constitutional.
“There are protections built in the law to protect innocent people,” Curry said. “An aggrieved party could ask for an emergency hearing to get their property back.”
However, experts and civil libertarians such as Cardella argue that civil forfeiture laws may be due for U.S. Supreme Court review.
Civil forfeiture around the country
Today, all states allow for forfeiture and there are more than 400 federal forfeiture statutes. Legal opinions written on the matter show an inconsistency as to what is and is not a violation of an individual’s property rights.
On a federal level, writing for a six-justice majority in Kaley v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan stated that a criminal defendant indicted by a grand jury has essentially no right to challenge the forfeiture of her assets, even if the defendant needs those very assets to pay lawyers to defend her at trial.
The dissenters in the case were strange bedfellows, ranging from traditionally conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the more liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
There is also room for interpretation at the state level.
In Indiana, former Chief Justice Randall Shepard, who wrote the Supreme Court ruling in another civil forfeiture case, said criticisms of asset seizure may be legitimate in some places. But instances vary from one jurisdiction to another. “There are places where it’s used more forcefully than most people would think is appropriate,” Shepard said.
Because the process is characterized as “civil forfeiture” rather than “criminal forfeiture,” he said, property can be taken regardless of the guilt or innocence of the accused party, which raises concerns.
“The relative ease of effecting such forfeiture and the disposition of the assets have become a matter of public note,” Shepard wrote.
Washington, through Cardella, argues that the length of time that police have to possess individuals’ property unduly burdens property owners.
Under Indiana law, the executive branch can hold a vehicle for up to six months. If the state decides to file a forfeiture claim against the vehicle within the first 180 days, the vehicle is held indefinitely until the case is concluded, which can often be several additional months, according to court documents.
“I think there is a widespread misunderstanding (that civil forfeiture) is not a unilateral act,” Curry told IndyStar. He explained that most of individuals whose property is seized are drug dealers and the like.
However, case law throughout the country suggests that Indiana’s laws — when it comes to the length of time that law enforcement can hold onto a vehicle — may be unconstitutional.
In a 2002 U.S. Court of Appeals opinion authored by Sotomayor, the court held that the Constitution demanded a speedy process to determine whether the government was likely to win the forfeiture claim.
In the case, Krimstock v. Kelly, three automobile owners challenged a New York City policy that allowed the city to seize motor vehicles from individuals accused of certain crimes involving motor vehicles and then to hold the vehicles — sometimes for years — in hopes of gaining title in civil forfeiture proceedings.
The U.S. Supreme Court has passed on making a substantive ruling on civil forfeiture matters, specifically pertaining to vehicles.
Challenges coming from all sides
And Cardella’s isn’t the only suit challenging Indiana’s statute.
Sam Gedge, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian nonprofit based in Arlington, Va., filed a lawsuit in February (Jeana M. Horner, Dennis Jack Horner, et al. v. Terry R. Curry, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, et al.) in Marion Superior Court charging the IMPD and prosecutors with violating the Indiana Constitution by not forwarding all civil forfeiture proceeds to the state’s common school fund.
Instead, the county is keeping 100 percent of the money in a “policing for profit” scheme, the institute said.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department divvy up all the money received from civil forfeitures based on a 30/70 split, according to the lawsuit.
The case has yet to be decided.
Regarding Washington and Cardella’s lawsuit, Gedge said, “There are two fundamental problems which make it a serious assault on property rights: It allows law enforcement to seize property, that’s ripe for abuse. And what makes the process more pernicious, (is that law enforcement) is seizing a direct stake in property.”
Cardella, said while it’s not likely that the case will go to the Supreme Court, “I hope it does.”
Cardella, who lives in a rural area outside of Indianapolis, said he prizes his privacy and freedoms as an American.
Citing the Join, or Die political cartoon of a snake cut into pieces drawn by Benjamin Franklin in 1754, Cardella believes in the collective power of the people to unite against tyranny and unfairness.
He sees current civil forfeiture laws as the government’s way of trampling on citizens’ rights.
“This is the kind of case that made me want to go to law school.”