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The stark difference in how doctors and the government view marijuana


By Christopher Ingraham August 29 at 11:23 AM

 

Nathaniel P. Morris is a resident physician at Stanford Hospital specializing in mental health. He recently penned a strongly worded op-ed for ScientificAmerican.com on the differences between how some in the medical community view marijuana and how the federal government regulates it.

“The federal government’s scheduling of marijuana bears little relationship to actual patient care,” he wrote in the essay published last week. “The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol (not scheduled), cocaine (Schedule II), methamphetamine (Schedule II), or prescription opioids (Schedules II, III, and IV) doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine.”

Here’s Morris’ money quote:

For most health care providers, marijuana is an afterthought.

We don’t see cannabis overdoses. We don’t order scans for cannabis-related brain abscesses. We don’t treat cannabis-induced heart attacks. In medicine, marijuana use is often seen on par with tobacco or caffeine consumption — something we counsel patients about stopping or limiting, but nothing urgent to treat or immediately life-threatening.

He contrasts that with the terrible effects of alcohol he sees in the emergency room every day, like car crash victims and drunk patients choking on their own vomit. Morris points out that excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC.

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[Every minute, someone gets arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S.]

The medical and research communities have known for some time that marijuana is one of the more benign substances you can put in your body relative to other illicit drugs. A recent longitudinal study found that chronic, long-term marijuana use is about as bad for your physical health as not flossing. Compared to alcohol, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana alone. On a per-user basis, marijuana sends fewer people to the emergency room than alcohol or other drugs.

The scientific consensus was best captured in a 2010 study in the Lancet, which polled several dozen researchers working in addiction and drug policy. The researchers rated commonly used recreational drugs according to the harm they pose to individuals who use them, as well as the harm they pose to society as a whole. Here’s what their results looked like:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.09.12 PM

The experts rated marijuana as less harmful to both users and to society than either tobacco or alcohol, or indeed than many other recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. Alcohol was, by far, the most socially harmful drug the committee rated, as well as one of the most harmful drugs to individual users.

Research like this is one reason surveys have shown a substantial majority of doctors support the use of medical marijuana. And although big medical groups, such as the American Medical Association, haven’t shifted gears on marijuana, other groups, such as the California Medical Association, are now openly calling for marijuana legalization.

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This year has also seen the formation of the nation’s first doctor’s group devoted to legalizing marijuana, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. The group views marijuana legalization primarily as a public health issue.

None of this is to say, of course, that marijuana is completely “safe” or “harm-free.” As with any drug, using too much weed can lead to dependency on it. And as with any other drug, marijuana can have particularly harmful effects on young, developing minds.

But the federal approach to marijuana has stood at odds with the science on the drug for decades. As far back as the 1970s, an expert report commissioned by Richard Nixon recommended that the federal government decriminalize marijuana use, given the drug’s mild effects.

Nixon, of course, ignored the report’s findings. In the years since, there have been hundreds of thousands of arrests for marijuana possession each year, people have lost their homes and their property over suspicion of marijuana use, and decades of racially biased policing tactics have decimated many minority communities.

How marijuana legalization is working out so far

Play Video1:58

What we can learn about legal marijuana from Washington, Colorado and Oregon. (Daron Taylor, Danielle Kunitz/The Washington Post)

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Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.

Follow @_cingraham

CONTINUE READING…

A day after the federal judge declared that he will wait up to two weeks to issue his ruling to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Red Warrior Camp continues to grow and thrive.


August 25, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Cody Hall

Organization: Red Warrior Camp

Voice Phone Number: (605) 220-2531

Email Address: RedWarriorCamp@gmail.com

Social Media: Facebook.com/RedWarriorCamp , @ZuyaLutaOceti on Twitter

Cannon Ball River, 1851 Ft Laramie Treaty Territory…

A day after the federal judge declared that he will wait up to two weeks to issue his ruling to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Red Warrior Camp continues to grow and thrive.
The camp has established a recycling program; a food distribution program to support camp kitchens; nonviolent direct action training and culture based activities.

North Dakota Homeland Security Division’s decision to abruptly remove their trailers and drinking water tanks have not affected the people in camp.

Much like our ancestors before us, we are resilient and will persevere. These delays will not deter, but in fact will motivate, the people to focus on what they came here for…to protect the water.

More than 50 native nations and allies from around the world have converged here on the banks of the Cannon Ball River to be a voice for the sacred water and Mother Earth. The population is expected to increase in the coming week with the influx of additional tribal nations arriving.
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To support the Water Protectors at the camp please visit Owe Aku’s web page at www.oweakuinternational.org and click Owe Aku. There you can find more information on our history as cultural and environmental protectors. The camp needs us all more than ever now. Wopila.

TRIBAL GATHERING FACES AGGRESSIVE STATE REPRESSION AND MEDIA MANIPULATION


For Immediate Release: August 23, 2016

Contact:

LaDonna Allard (CSS), ladonnabrave1@aol.com, (701) 426-2064

Dallas Goldtooth (IEN), dallas@ienearth.org, (507) 412-7609

Tara Houska (HTE), tara@honorearth.org, (612) 226-9404

The historic gathering of tribes from across the continent in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues in the face of aggressive state repression and media manipulation.  Last Friday, Governor Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency in order to make additional state resources available to “manage public safety risks associated with the protest.”  Dalrymple has complained of “outside agitators” responsible for “hundreds of criminal acts,” and called on federal officials to help.  But LaDonna Allard, Director of the Camp of the Sacred Stone, says, “The gathering here remains 100% peaceful and ceremonial, as it has from day one.  We are standing together in prayer.  No firearms or weapons are allowed.  Why is a gathering of Indians so inherently threatening and frightening to some people?”
On Monday, August 22, the Morton County Board also declared a State of Emergency in order to access the funds released by the Governor – to request overtime wages, extra equipment, and money to reimburse other law enforcement agencies sending resources.  This decision relies on a false narrative of violence put forth by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who last week announced outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of “pipe bombs” and gun violence at the protest site.  Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network says, “These are dangerous statements by Sheriff Kirchmeier and only foster greater resentment between local native and non-native residents. Furthermore, we have women, children and elders in our camp; and because of the Sheriff’s false narrative those families now have to fear for their own safety. ”
Meanwhile, the main road accessing the camp, Highway 1806, has been shut down by authorities since Friday.  A military-style checkpoint is established at Fort Lincoln, where motorists are constantly surveilled with cameras and interrogated about their activities.   Identities are recorded and anyone suspected of traveling to the protest site is turned away and forced to travel a long detour. These checkpoints violate constitutional protections and international law by restricting freedom of movement without justification.  They further isolate a people who are already extremely geographically and politically isolated.  At the same time, police presence has been amplified on the reservation and many have been racially profiled and harassed for no reason. 
On Monday, North Dakota’s Homeland Security Director ordered the removal of state-owned medical trailers and water tanks from the camp, citing reports of unlawful activity and fears that the equipment is unsafe.  Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, says, “It is deeply ironic that the Governor would release emergency funds under the guise of public health and safety, but then remove the infrastructure that helps ensure health and safety in the camp.  This is nothing but repression of our growing movement to protect our water and future generations.”
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also announced they are investigating two incidents of “laser strikes” aimed at surveillance aircraft patrolling above the camp.   “Why launch a federal investigation into a laser pointer instead of asking what right the US government has to fly surveillance planes over sovereign nations in the first place?” said Houska.  

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No Dakota Access in Treaty Territory – Camp of the Sacred Stones

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State Begins Random Drug-Testing of Middle School Children — With Punishment


Claire Bernish

August 22, 2016

 

Random drug-testing of middle-schoolers — with penalties — has become a reality for a school district in New Jersey that already does so with high school students.

Though the Lacey Township Board of Education program will be implemented purely on a “voluntary” basis for seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs and extracurricular activities — and only then with parental consent — the invasiveness of the plan should sound a number of alarm bells.

“I’m a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say ‘no’ and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens,” district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media following the school board’s vote on August 15.

Students will be offered the option to participate in the random drug-testing program, but the parents of those who do must sign a 12-month consent form.

Worse, the school plans to hand down stiff penalties to students who test positive — a first violation would bar a student from participation in sports and extracurriculars for 10 days, and on a second offense, the suspension would last 45 days. A third strike, unsurprisingly, bars the ‘offending’ student from athletics and extracurriculars permanently.

Students who sign up for the program but refuse to take a drug test when selected would face the same harsh penalties as those who test positive for drugs — meaning voluntary participants must adhere to the plan, or else.

“It’s really another tool for schools and families to keep their kids safe,” Wigley continued. “I think it’s a wonderful addition and it’s good to be in the forefront of that. We’re being proactive.”

It would be feasible to imagine civil liberties advocates would beg to differ with that assessment, but NJ Advance Media apparently didn’t contact any for an opposing viewpoint. The Free Thought Project reached out to the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for comment, but at the time of publication, had not received a response.

As NJ Advance Media noted, the school board’s program will allow up to 40 students per month to be tested from September 1 through the end of the school year — but no explanation for the 12-month length of consent was provided.

As the outlet wrote:

The board of education will annually adopt the list of prohibited substances and determine the cut-off levels for each substance that determines a positive test before the beginning of each school year. The list of prohibited substances is expected to including alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, opiates and any others substance defined as a controlled dangerous substance by state law.”

As noted by High Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics generally opposes random or ‘suspicionless’ drug testing in schools, citing the lack of efficacy versus potential risks.

Proponents of random drug testing refer to potential advantages such as students avoiding drug use because of the negative consequences associated with having … positive drug test results,” the AAP wrote in a statement in March 2015, “while opponents of random drug testing agree that the disadvantages are much greater, and can include deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.”

AAP does support identifying possible substance abusers so appropriate assistance could be provided, but feels testing should be left to pediatricians.

As NJ Advance Media unironically reported, “No student will be penalized academically for testing positive for drug[s] or alcohol under the policy.”

High schools in Lacey have performed random drug testing of students since December 2013 — though, in contrast to the middle school policy, that program is not voluntary. Each month, 30 students are selected randomly for drug screenings whether or not schools suspect them of actually using illicit substances.

“Students who test positive will lose the ability to participate in extra-curricular [sic] activities — sports, graduation ceremonies, school trips and proms — and parking privileges,” NJ Advance Media reported in 2013. “Along with notification of his or her parents, students who fail a test will have to meet with a substance abuse counselor. The student will also have to submit to four additional drug tests over the next 12 months. Failure of those tests could lead to a year’s worth of revoked privileges and activities, and a requirement to attend a drug rehabilitation.”

Alarmingly, some three dozen public school districts in New Jersey had implemented random drug testing for students as of three years ago.

Considering drug tests are notorious for producing false positives — or can flag a legally-prescribed drug as an illicit substance — policies like these should at least be subject to intensive scrutiny, if not outrightly banned. Further, it should be noted, because these are public schools, taxpayers foot the bill for the Nanny State’s intrusion into adolescents’ lives.

Rather than educating students about the effects of substances the government deems illegal — teaching them to respect drugs by comparing the perils of abuse to use in moderation — such programs inculcate the sort of taboo around substances that often lead teens to experiment in the first place.

While local media nearly unanimously praised the voluntary testing of seventh and eighth graders, the public had a more mixed response — some commenters on the NJ Advance Media article felt drug testing should be left to parents and schools should focus on the obvious task at hand: education.

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana News Roundup: Pot and Politics Ahead – 24/7 Wall St.


What You Need to Know about the 2016 Presidential Candidates’ Marijuana Views
The chatter of cannabis has grown a little louder on the U.S. campaign trail this season.

The leading third-party candidates have called for full marijuana legalization, while the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties have broached the topic more frequently — now that half of the nation has medical marijuana laws in place, a handful of states have gone recreational and several others will have cannabis-related ballot initiatives this November.

“It has the capacity to become a very important issue,” said Andrew Schnackenberg, an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. “It is a hotbed issue still, and you have at least two of the (presidential campaigns) on the record in favor of legalization, which pushes the debate into an interesting direction for the other two candidates (Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton).”

But just how prominent the topic may become this election likely will depend on whether the pro-legalization, third-party campaigns of Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein successfully make it to the debate stage, said Paul Seaborn, an assistant professor in the Daniels College of Business’ Department of Management.

Source: Marijuana News Roundup: Pot and Politics Ahead – 24/7 Wall St.

Geoff Young filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday…


Media Release – For Immediate Release – August 20, 2016

 

 

Lexington, KY

Geoff Young, a Lexington politician who lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 6th District to Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper on May 17, filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday. His accusations include conspiracy to commit election fraud and the violation of his due process rights.
Young is also asking District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to freeze the assets of the state and county parties until his lawsuit is finally resolved.
The first page reads as follows, and the complete, 47-page civil complaint is available via the Dropbox link below.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

GEOFFREY M. YOUNG, pro se, Plaintiff ] CASE NO. 3:16-CV-62-GFVT

454 Kimberly Place ]
Lexington, KY 40503 ] COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
Phone: (859) 278-4966 ]
Email: energetic@windstream.net ] AND REQUEST FOR AN
]
v. ] EMERGENCY INJUNCTION;
]
SANNIE OVERLY, CLINT MORRIS, ] JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
]
ANDY BESHEAR, ALISON LUNDERGAN ] 1. Electoral fraud – sham elections
]
GRIMES, JACK CONWAY, THE STATE ] 2. Denial of due process – sham or no
]
CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ] procedures for resolving disputes
]
OF THE KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ] 3. Official misconduct in the first degree
]
AND THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF ] 4. Deprivation of honest services
]
THE FAYETTE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ] 5. Violation of Executive ethics codes
]
PARTY, Defendants ] 6. Nullifying valid statutes
]
] 7. Intimidation by means of sanctions
]
] 8. Threats of physical force

Plaintiff alleges as follows:

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by Title 18, U.S.C. § 241, Conspiracy Against Rights; 18 U.S.C. § 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law; 18 U.S.C. § 245, Federally protected activities; and 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Deprivation of Right of Honest Services. Venue is proper in the Eastern District of Kentucky because all the Defendants reside or hold
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES – Page 1 of 47
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1oowarjxlu85wdi/Complaint%20KDP%20Federal%20Denial%20due%20process%20Aug1916.doc?dl=0
For more details or an interview in any format, please contact:
Geoff Young
454 Kimberly Place
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: (859) 278-4966
Email address:
energetic@windstream.net
Former campaign web site: young4ky.com

GEOFFREY YOUNG ON FACEBOOK

Mental Health Bill Caters to Big Pharma and Would Expand Coercive Treatments


Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00 By Oryx Cohen, Truthout | Op-Ed

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, Oct. 23, 2013.(Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, October 23, 2013. (Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

On its surface, the mental health reform bill introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania looks promising. Murphy is the only licensed psychologist in Congress, everybody agrees that our mental health system is not working, and we would all like to help families in crisis.

On closer inspection, however, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) – commonly known as the “Murphy Bill” – appears to cater more closely to the desires of pharmaceutical companies than to the actual needs of people in psychological distress, perhaps because of Murphy’s connections to key lobbyists.

Murphy’s financial supporters include the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatric hospitals and the National Rifle Association, and his campaign contributors include no less than nine pharmaceutical companies and a law firm that represents Big Pharma.

The bill was marked up Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee and passed by that subcommittee, despite strong objections from almost all the Democrats on the full committee. The next step is for the full Energy and Commerce Committee to vote on moving the bill forward, followed by the House vote. A timetable has not yet been set. Although the bill is gaining momentum, there is substantial opposition, so passage is still uncertain.

If the Murphy Bill is passed, psychiatric hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will reap huge financial benefits as a result of increased hospitalization and forced treatment. One way the bill will do this is by creating a financial incentive for states that implement “assisted outpatient treatment”: court-ordered treatment (including medication) for people whom a judge deems as living with “severe mental illness” and unlikely to willingly take prescribed psychiatric medications.

Psychiatric hospitals would also benefit from the bill’s proposed elimination of the “Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion,” which currently makes mental health institutions ineligible for funding through Medicaid. By enabling psychiatric hospitals to access this funding, the Murphy Bill could usher in an unprecedented era of re-institutionalization, going against the recommendations of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which asserted in 1999 that people with mental health issues have the right to be in the least restrictive setting possible. If passed, the Murphy Bill will lead to large-scale re-institutionalization in hospitals for longer periods of time for people who now generally have the right to live in supportive communities of their choosing.

The Murphy Bill threatens the recovery and community integration practices that current consumers of mental health services and survivors of coercive psychiatric interventions have worked so hard for over the last 40-plus years to create for those most in need. In particular, the bill would dismantle the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), which actively funds and supports important efforts to rebuild the community and family life of people dealing with mental health issues through non-medicalized institutions such as peer-run respites (short-term crisis centers managed by people living with mental health concerns and available to “self-referred” individuals seeking to avoid hospitalization through support from peers). SAMHSA also supports suicide prevention initiatives, trauma-informed practices, Emotional CPR (an educational program aimed at teaching people how to assist others through an emotional crisis), Wellness Recovery Action Planning and much more, all of which would suffer if SAMHSA were dismantled. The bill would also threaten people’s rights by weakening state “Protection and Advocacy for People with Mental Illness” organizations, which offer rights protections, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, making it easier to force people into treatment.

Murphy and his supporters criticize opponents of the bill for being “against families.” They fail to acknowledge that families are not united in support of this bill. While the national headquarters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has come out in support of the bill, many local NAMI affiliates are against it. Activists who identify as current consumers of mental health services or survivors of psychiatric interventions are frequently approached by desperate family members who are looking for alternatives to coercive and institutional responses to mental health crises. We are finding ways to include families because rebuilding strong family connections can be essential to recovery.

Community-Based Solutions to Mental Health Crises

Rosey Padgett in Prescott, Arizona, recently contacted the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery because her son Nick was trapped in the mental health system. Currently, he is in the Arizona State Hospital.

“Nick has been placed in mental hospitals approximately 30 different times over the past seven years,” Padgett says. “He has been court ordered and placed in many different group homes. All of the group homes have made his behavior worse due to being forced into these situations when these homes are not an environment for healing. No wonder so many people with emotional and mental distress commit suicide: They feel dead inside and hopeless from being forced to take medications that make them feel horrible.”

What has worked for Nick is connecting with other peers and having tremendous family support. A woman from the local Hearing Voices Network has begun visiting with him and providing peer support, as they are both voice hearers. He is doing so much better that the doctors at Arizona State Hospital are talking about releasing him in a few months.

Nick’s story is similar to the stories of others around the country who are languishing in and out of hospitals. Often it is not what is happening in those hospitals that helps people reestablish a life; it is the family and community support they have once they leave the hospital.

Murphy Bill proponents point to a lack of institutionally or medically directed mental health treatment as being a primary cause of the alarming rise of violent acts such as school shootings and suicide. However, when we look at this argument closely, it falls apart.

This argument overlooks the fact that the link between mental health conditions and violence is minuscule, as many studies have shown. Mentalhealth.gov, a website run by the federal government, says:

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3 to 5 percent of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population…. When economist Richard Florida took a look at gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

We should probably be doing more questioning of the treatments themselves. For example, many antidepressant medications, such as Paxil, that are commonly prescribed to young people, have a black box warning that they can increase suicidality among teenagers.

We all want to see violence and suicide go away, but passing legislation that imposes increased mental health screenings and forced treatments (including psychiatric medication) on unwilling individuals is neither an ethical nor an effective way to accomplish this, especially given the risk of medications backfiring.

Standing Up for Peer-Run Recovery

Perhaps Murphy and supporters of his bill should ask those of us who have lived through extreme emotional distress for ideas and possible solutions. Thus far, the many activists who share the concerns I have outlined here have been denied a seat at the table in congressional discussions of the Murphy bill, despite the recommendation made in 2003 by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which said that transformations of the mental health system should be led and informed by consumers of mental health services.

What would survivors of extreme emotional distress say if we were at the table with Congressman Murphy?

Many of us would say that our mental health crises occur when we feel alone, abused and generally isolated from the rest of the world. We would thus raise our concern that, rather than reestablishing social connections, the current mental health system often disconnects us even more and leads us to a lifelong dependence on the system itself.

Let’s take Dan, who as an adolescent contemplated shooting up his middle school. It wasn’t medication or therapy that prevented this terrible potential tragedy; Dan says it was talking to his friends at school and playing Dungeons and Dragons that grounded him and gave him hope. In other words, peer support.

What would have happened if Dan had been flagged as a result of a mental health screening? He likely would have been removed from his social circles and placed in an institution, perhaps becoming permanently dependent on the system.

Dan is now a part of a peer-run recovery community called the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He has his own place to live, a job, friends and a life, and is starring in the documentary HEALING VOICES. The Recovery Learning Community helps people to establish much-needed social connections and gain a sense of belonging. This community is there when Dan needs it, and he doesn’t need a diagnosis or a referral to attend the many support groups and wellness activities: the strength of places like the Recovery Learning Community is that they an integrated and open part of the broader community and not separate from it.

But if the Murphy Bill passes, places like this might cease to exist. By requiring expensive clinical oversight and unprecedented congressional control over federal grants, the Murphy Bill targets consumer-run organizations and peer specialists, making it likely that national consumer-run organizations will be shut down, severely restricting what peer specialists can do and posing a threat to local peer-run organizations such as the Recovery Learning Community.

Critics dismiss many opponents of the Murphy bill as being “anti-medication,” but in fact many of us take medications and have found them useful. Our philosophy is that people should have accurate information to make informed choices, including the choice to use alternatives to medications. With the increase in violence and suicide and the alarming fact that people in the public mental health system die an average of 25 years younger than the rest of the population, shouldn’t researching and supporting alternatives be a priority?

Current consumers of mental health services and survivors of psychiatric interventions are willing to share our knowledge and expertise.

Is anyone willing to listen?

    CONTINUE READING…

    It’s time for another Presidential Election in the U.S.A. (Lord, what are we supposed to do now?)


    The following is a short synopsis of the current situation as I see it concerning the Presidential Elections.

    After watching Donald J. Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC) and Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July, I am still at a loss on who would be the best Candidate to put our Votes behind in the upcoming Presidential Elections. 

    As of yet, the U.S. Marijuana Party as a group has likewise not decided who we should promote for the White House as well.

    Bernie Sanders did his best at the DNC to push the Democrats over to Hillary Clinton, in his speech.  I am not sure how that is going to work out for them.

    Hillary Clinton has had virtually continuous access to the White House since her Husband, Bill Clinton was elected President in 1993.  This is 2016 and I do not see anything that can be construed as positive changes for the American People in a long, long time.  You could argue that when “Bill” was in the White House things were different.  However, after gaining a few years wisdom on the matter, there are things that I could disagree with during his reign, that at the time I thought he was one of the best President’s we ever had.  And, sadly enough, he probably was.

    William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, American politician who was the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton was previously Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, and the Arkansas Attorney General from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, ideologically Clinton was a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centristThird Way” political philosophy.

    The Omnibus Crime Bill, which Clinton signed into law in September 1994,[87] made many changes to U.S. crime and law enforcement legislation including the expansion of the death penalty to include crimes not resulting in death, such as running a large-scale drug enterprise. During Clinton’s re-election campaign he said, “My 1994 crime bill expanded the death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers, and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons.”[88] It also included a subsection of assault weapons ban for a ten-year period.

    Here are a few more items from the “Bill Clinton Era that are notable;

    Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Act) of 1993. When signed into law in November of that year, the Brady Act included a GCA amendment that created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

    The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

    The Glass–Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking was in four sections of the 1933 Banking Act.

     

    What I do not like about each of the Candidates:

     

    7 of Hillary Clinton’s biggest accomplishments

    Hilary Clinton – (Democrat)

    After having been in the public spotlight since Bill Clinton’s Election in 1992 and even prior to that in Arkansas, she has had plenty of time and plenty of access to all the most valuable areas in the Executive Branch of the Government and beyond to make change happen. 

    Hillary’s own personal access to the White House includes the following:

    She served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, the junior United States Senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, First Lady of the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, and First Lady of Arkansas during his governorship from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992.  Following the September 11 attacks, she voted to approve the war in Afghanistan. She also voted for the Iraq Resolution, which she later regretted.  She voted against the Bush tax cuts and in favor of the Patriot Act and TARP. Clinton responded to the Arab Spring, during which she advocated the U.S. military intervention in Libya.

    She served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, the junior United States Senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, First Lady of the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, and First Lady of Arkansas during his governorship from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992.  LINK to more information.

    She arguably has the most experience and the most activism experience as well, in her background.  But there has just been so much drama in her past decisions and she has been in the circle for 25 years already.  You can definitely argue that it is time for change.  Period.

    Image result for donald trump

    Donald Trump – (Republican)

    Corpocracy /ˌkɔrpɒkrəsi/ coined in 1995 by Nickolas Falvo, is a term used as an economic and political form of Oligarchy that is controlled by corporations, corporate interests, or the wealthy owners of corporations. It is different from both corporatism, which is the organisation of society into groups with common interests, and Corporatocracy, which is an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests while not being necessarily an Oligarchy.

    Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, television personality, author, and politician. He is chairman of The Trump Organization, which is the principal holding company for his real estate ventures and other business interests. He is also the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

    Here are some quotes from Donald Trump’s opinion –

    Millions are helped by Planned Parenthood, but defund it.

    Cut defense budget, & entire EPA & Dept. of Education.

    1989 full-page newspaper ads: “Bring Back the Death Penalty”.

    Green energy is just an expensive feel-good for tree-huggers.

    Additionally, here are a couple of reported facts;

    Disposal of national public lands;

    The Republican platform committee met this week to draft the document that defines the party’s official principles and policies. Along with provisions on pornography and LGBT “conversion therapy” is an amendment calling for the indiscriminate and immediate disposal of national public lands.

    “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states,” reads the adopted language. “We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power and influence to urge the transfer of those lands identified.”

    We as a People cannot let this happen on our watch!  It must be stopped!  National Public Lands are supposed to belong to the People of this Country.  If they are sold off to Private investors the land will be at their mercy. 

    “…leaving national parks, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, and national forests apparently up for grabs and vulnerable to development, privatization, or transfer to state ownership.”

    Cut spending by targeting the Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency;

    Asked on “Fox News Sunday” how he would cut spending, Trump named the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency as potential targets.

    Although I believe both “Departments” could use some restructuring I do not believe it is in anyone’s best interest, (except maybe the “Corporations”), to dispose of these Agencies.  They make an honest (?) attempt to regulate two of the most important “Departments” in the U.S.  Without them who would monitor the health of our environment or be responsible for our Children’s learning structure and environment?  While I would also say that private education is the best education and it would be nice if we could eradicate the Department of Education, it just does not seem viable to me to do so at this late date.  Our Children deserve to be educated to the best of the Student’s ability to learn.  Education should be free and equal to all Citizens as long as their participation in their education continues and passing grades are achieved.  This should include at least a basic four year College or University Curriculum. 

    I do not claim to be all-knowing, but it sure seems like Trump’s Campaign is just another Corporate Coup to me!

    Image result for gary johnson

    Gary Johnson  (Libertarian)

    no farm subsidies;

    In my opinion, the Farmer’s are the very people that we should be subsidizing!  These are the very people who grow and produce our food!  The only reason for not subsidizing Farmer’s would be to let Corporate farming take over the market.  This may reduce the cost of food and maybe raise the quantity, but what quality of food would we be subjected to? 

    Built private prisons to replace out-of-state prisoners;

    There is only one reason to promote the use of private prisons and that is Corporate prisons.  Private prisons have been used for quite a few years and they have all been a failure.  Cost is not the only issue when it comes to housing our prisoners!  There are a lot of issues with private run prisons and there are a lot of links at KentuckyMarijuanaParty.Com to help you begin to sift through all those issues.  In short, I do not like them.

    State primacy over water quantity & quality issues;

    Water is our most important natural resource.  It is the lifeblood of the Human Race as a whole.  Water should be regulated first on a Federal level so as to ensure that all of the water which is utilized in our homes and for personal use, i.e., drinking and bathing is safe to use not only at the moment of consumption but so as not to cause health issues later.  I believe that Flint, Michigan is a very good example of what can happen when this resource is left untested – literally.

    I am not a fan of the U.N. but it has “recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”  The U.S. should take this declaration seriously and strive fast and hard for the access to clean water to all Citizens in all areas of the U.S.  This should be a top priority!  Since clean, safe water is essential to all of us the Federal Government should set standards and do whatever is necessary to make sure all the States have equal access to whatever services they may require to make sure that this is accomplished.

    NAFTA benefits New Mexico; jobs lost are those we don’t want;

    Unlimited campaign contributions by corporations;

    It is my opinion that only individuals should be able to contribute to any given campaign!  There should be no Corporate interests involved in any election!  We are talking about Government of the people, by the people and for the people, NOT the Corporations!  My belief is that a Corporation is not a ‘Being’ and should not be treated as such – It IS a business!  Businesses always have ulterior motives in any given Election – It is called Sales and Marketing strategy!

    In a January 2001 interview with Playboy Magazine, Governor Johnson stated that he opposed campaign contribution limits. “The problem isn’t large contributions. The problem is that we don’t know who contributed. If you limit contributions from an individual to, say, $1000, then I think just the opposite occurs. Then you have politicians beholden to way too many people.” In 2010, Johnson said he favored unlimited contributions by corporations as well.

    Gary Johnson on Social Security issues:  Raise the retirement age to 70 or 72;   A portion of Social Security ought to be privatized;  Reform all entitlements, including Social Security;  Open to personal accounts for Social Security;

     

    Jill Stein –  (Green Party)

    She wants to put much regulation into the ownership of guns which I see as a threat against an important part of our Constitutional Rights. 

    “A Democracy is when two wolves
    and a sheep take a vote on what’s
    for dinner. A Republic is when the
    sheep is well armed and can beg to
    differ with the vote.

    ” Benjamin Franklin”

    According to Jill Stein:

    • Gun ownership should be appropriately regulated.
    • Gun ownership should be appropriately regulated.

    She must have really strong feelings about this issue since it was inputted twice!

    • More local regulations; more background checks.

    Personally, I do not think we need any regulations in gun ownership.  At this point everyone needs to own one and know how to use it.  Regulations are not going to save your Ass when an intruder decides to do you harm.  The intruder will not read the rules and regulations, I promise you that much!

    • Reduce culture of violence via mental health & legal drugs.

    This is very troubling to me as an individual because forced health care, especially mental health care, is a very slippery slope which can and most likely will turn into a disaster for many patients.  Who gets to decide who needs mandated mental health care?  We already have too much of this type of scenario playing out in the Courts currently.  There is a BILL, H.R. 2646 which was passed out of Committee on June 15, 2016 deemed “Murphy’s Bill” which could very likely be the slippery slope that could lead into a very dire situation for any patient involved in the mental healthcare system. 

    In my opinion, the best way to get mental help patients the care that they need is to make sure that Physicians and services are available with easy access.  If a patient feels good about the Physician that they are seeing and has ready access to those services it is a good bet that they will be open to receiving those services.  We cannot mandate healthcare.  If a patient has no right to choose whether or not he receives care then he has no right to determine who or where he receives the care from and what pharmaceutical drugs he may be mandated or forced to take!  This Bill could possibly be a big winner for the pharmaceutical industry as well as the drug testing industry!

    History tends to repeat itself, so with that in mind take a look at this historical information and do not ever think that it could not happen here, because it damn sure could!

    • Address community violence with more mental health services.

    Again, we cannot mandate mental healthcare!

    • Gun at home more likely to cause injury than to defend home.

    This may or may not hold true but it is still a Constitutional right to own firearms and we have a right to protect ourselves, our families and our homes – as well as to help protect anyone within our reach.  It is an individual choice whether or not to keep a firearm in your home. 

    With all this being said, it remains who would be the most trustworthy of the Candidates, let alone who would be the best leader of our Country.  Who can we trust the most to do what they say they will do?  Who would be most likely to lead us into a massive war?  Who would be most likely to take away even more of our individual rights through the guise of homeland security and gun control?  There are so many issues at the front of this upcoming Election.  I will continue to listen to the reports, and hopefully, come to a final decision soon,  but this will have to have been the hardest Election that I’ve ever had to make a decision on.

    Smkrider

    a state law called the Little TVA Act and EPB’s contract with the TVA mean that TVA ultimately regulates and approves all rates and rate structures for EPB.


    Congressmen have not received AG letter concerning GEPB rates

    • BY MELINDA J. OVERSTREET moverstreet@glasgowdailytimes.com
    • Aug 11, 2016

    EPB rate protestors at Rand Paul meeting

    GLASGOW — Spokespersons for U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said Thursday that their respective offices had not, to the best of their knowledge, received a letter from Kentucky’s attorney general regarding the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s electricity rate structure.

    U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was in Glasgow on Tuesday for an open meeting with constituents and heard about the letter from audience members. He said his office would serve as an advocate in the sense of connecting local residents to others in the federal government who could help.

    A letter addressed to the trio in the commonwealth’s congressional delegation from Attorney General Andy Beshear was provided to some local residents last Friday and made its way to the Daily Times as well, but it had Monday’s date on it. It was unclear as to when it was actually mailed to the intended recipients.

    EPB’s rate structure went into effect Jan. 1. It includes a customer charge for EPB’s cost of delivering the power it purchases wholesale from the Tennessee Valley Authority. For the power itself, EPB passes along its wholesale cost from TVA in like manner — with different rates for peak and off-peak hours, with relatively little difference between those two, and a coincident peak demand charge. The summer rate for the coincident peak — the one hour during each month when demand is the highest — is $11 per kilowatt, and it’s slightly less than that in the winter.

    Although EPB uses weather forecasts to try to anticipate when that hour may be and issues alerts using multiple modes of communication, it’s impossible to know until the month is done which hour is the one that will bear that cost. Typically, a window of a few hours is provided if a possible CPD could occur on a particular day, but with recent weather patterns, that has happened on multiple days in a row. EPB has also suggested that consumers should just not use any unnecessary electricity during those hours and adjust their thermostats up approximately 4 degrees, but customers have complained that no matter what precautions they take, it still seems their bills jump considerably due to that one charge.

    Beshear’s letter said the rate structure penalizes people who are unable to be flexible with their electricity consumption, such as elderly and disabled persons, and/or ones who can’t afford newer, more energy-efficient appliances.

    “Most regulators and consumer advocates view residential demand charges as a blunt instrument, described as a ‘gotcha’ rate with unpleasant surprise impacts,” the letter says, noting that in most cases where such a rate structure has been incorporated, it has been only for large commercial/industrial customers.

    The Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention has some regulatory authority over municipally owned utilities, but Beshear recognizes in the letter that a state law called the Little TVA Act and EPB’s contract with the TVA mean that TVA ultimately regulates and approves all rates and rate structures for EPB. The Office of Rate Intervention, upon the OAG’s receipt of numerous significant complaints from local customers, initiated a dialogue with TVA, a federal agency, to try to find a suitable resolution, but the letter asks McConnell, Paul and Guthrie to get involved as well.

    “As the regulator, TVA is uniquely positioned to recommend and approve modifications to the rate schedule and help alleviate the unfair burden imposed upon the Glasgow residents,” Beshear’s letter says.

    In the interim of the congressional delegation’s receiving the letter, Jim Hopson, manager of public relations for TVA, has responded to some of the specific concerns raised in the document.

    He said last week that TVA would welcome a dialogue with federal, state and local officials.

    “In our role as regulator, TVA works with local power companies to ensure power is provided to consumers in a nondiscriminatory manner at rates as low as feasible,” Hopson said. “We also have a responsibility to listen to the concerns of consumers as well as the officials and agencies who represent them. Electric bills affect everyone, from families to large businesses, and we care about all those who call the Valley home.”

    He has noted, however, that it is not TVA’s role to tell local utilities how to design their rates, only to ensure that they use “industry standards” in calculating the bills and that they are fair and equitable.

    The Daily Times asked whether any of the other 153 local power companies in a total of seven states to which TVA sells power use similar methods that are based on that one-hour peak demand.

    “The rate structure GEPB implemented charges each customer his or her contribution to Glasgow’s peak demand, which is billed to GEPB by TVA,” Hopson responded. “Although this is unique among residential customers within the Valley, there are approximately 10 local power companies that have implemented this same structure for their large commercial and industrial customers.”

    Although different classes of customers may be distinguished, such as residential and commercial, and even categories such as sizes of commercial businesses, once you have defined those classes, you can’t treat people within those classes differently, Hopson said.

    Beshear’s letter says that, based on correspondence between TVA and EPB, TVA “had reservations about the rate structure prior to approving it.”

    The Daily Times asked TVA: “If TVA had reservations before approving the rates, what specifically changed your minds that allowed EPB to proceed?”

    Hopson replied that TVA had multiple discussions with EPB over several years prior to approval of EPB’s requested rate structure changes.

    “A primary focus of those discussions was to ensure that GEPB accurately determined the costs associated with the new rate design and assessed how those costs would be passed on to consumers. TVA respects local decision-making regarding the timing and implementation of such changes,” Hopson said. “When TVA approved the proposal, the decision was based on conversations GEPB had with their community, their extensive multimedia and educational outreach program, inclusion of TVA’s requested changes and the fact the proposal fairly and equitably shared costs among all consumers.”

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Black market fentanyl use increasing in Kentucky


  • Deborah Highland
  • Aug 15, 2016
  • ent3

    Fentanyl, an opioid painkiller 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, was found in the toxicology screens of 420 people who died in Kentucky last year of drug overdoses.

    That’s a 247 percent increase from 2014, when 121 people who died of drug overdoses had fentanyl in their toxicology screens, according to numbers provided by Van Ingram, executive director for the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

    “We’re seeing a huge uptick in fentanyl in Kentucky,” Ingram said.

    Pharmaceutical fentanyl is used in hospitals during surgery and is also provided in pain patches to people with severe, chronic pain, such as a cancer patient. But unlike opioid pain pills that have been diverted to the black market for years, pharmaceutical fentanyl isn’t what street dealers or drug abusers are using, Ingram said.

    “We’re not seeing pharmaceutical fentanyl being diverted but instead it is being produced out of the country and being smuggled in,” Ingram said.

    The drug is being made in clandestine labs primarily in Mexico and China, he said.

    “We’ve not seen a lot of labs in the United States, although there have been a few. The real danger of fentanyl is it is so powerful that skin exposure or powder exposure through the mouth and nose can put law enforcement at great risk,” Ingram said.

    Recently, the DEA sent out a warning to law enforcement agencies urging officers not to conduct field testing on suspected fentanyl and to instead package it and send it off to a crime lab for testing, he said.

    Most often when police encounter fentanyl, it’s found in heroin or being sold as heroin. But with the availability of pill presses, some dealers are using fentanyl to make pills that look like real pharmaceutical products such as oxycodone. 

    “If an individual buys pills off the street, there is really no assurance that what it says on the pill is really what they are getting because of the black market use of pill presses and other drugs,” Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving said. “By buying pills on the street, it could actually turn out to be a fatal error in judgment.”

    The DEA has seized pills all over the country that look like one drug but in reality contain illegally produced fentanyl, Ingram said.

    “It’s really scary stuff with people making their own opioids and shipping them across the country,” he said.

    “What we’re seeing is a lot of fentanyl analogs as well. It’s not the same chemical compound you would find in pharmaceutical fentanyl. You don’t know what you’re getting, or how powerful it is,” Ingram said.

    Narcotics investigators in Warren County haven’t seen much of the drug, Loving said.

    “But we’re very much aware of it, and it’s dangerous,” he said.

    “It’s much more potent than heroin and there are different versions of it being manufactured. … A little bit of this powder, if you come into contact with it on your fingers or skin or happen to breathe a little bit of it, can be fatal. And we are looking into obtaining Narcan for all of our detectives in part due to this danger that they may now be exposed to,” Loving said.

    Narcan is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose.

    South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force Director Jacky Hunt already has Narcan for his investigators, who unknowingly encountered the drug last year during an undercover drug buy. Officers thought the purchase was of heroin. 

    When Hunt received the lab testing results of the substance his agency bought, the drug turned out to be fentanyl instead.

    “My guys handled fentanyl and didn’t even know it,” Hunt said.

    The drug is most often seen with heroin in Kentucky or sold as heroin, Ingram said.

    Ingram’s office has written some grant requests to try to obtain Narcan for law enforcement in an attempt to save as many lives as possible, he said.

    — Follow Assistant City Editor Deborah Highland on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNCrimebeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

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    Cannabis