Category Archives: Mental Health

Fentanyl crackdown bill clears House committee


For Immediate Release

February 16, 2017

Fentanyl crackdown bill clears House committee

FRANKFORT—A bill that would make it a felony to illegally sell or distribute any amount of fentanyl, carfentanil and related drugs tied to an increase in drug overdoses in Kentucky has passed the House Judiciary Committee.

Trafficking in any amount of fentanyl, a pain killer now frequently imported for illegal street sales, and drugs derived from fentanyl as well as carfentanil—a large animal anesthetic said to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine—would carry up to 10 years in prison under House Bill 333, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill. Trafficking over certain amounts of the drugs could carry even longer sentences.

The bill would also make fentanyl derivatives—which potentially number 800 or more, state officials say–part of the same class of drugs as heroin and LSD. Those drugs are classified as Schedule I by the federal DEA which describes the drugs as having no “currently accepted medical use.”

“Whatever (fentanyl derivative) is thrown at us in the future will be a Schedule I controlled substance under Kentucky law,” if HB 333 passes, Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram told the committee.

Fentanyl, carfentanil and fentanyl derivatives are being mixed with heroin and sold on the street as heroin or other drugs. Some cities and counties have experienced dozens of overdoses in the span of a day or two because of the potency of the drugs which, Ingram said, can be disguised as pharmaceuticals like Xanax or Percocet.

“The business model for drug cartels is to mix fentanyl with heroin and make it look like (something else),” said Ingram. “It’s a much better —- for them. It’s a very deadly situation for our population.”

HB 333 would also create a felony offense called trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance for those who pass off carfentanil, fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives as an actual pharmaceutical, like Xanax. 

Another provision in the bill would limit prescriptions for fentanyl to a three-day supply with few exceptions, said Moser. Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Pikeville, questioned how the legislation would prevent someone from getting another dose from another physician after receiving their three days’ worth. Moser said the KASPER system, which tracks prescriptions written in Kentucky for all scheduled drugs, is still in place to monitor what is prescribed.

“This language does not preclude the fact that physicians have to document with the PDMPs or prescription drug monitoring programs. KASPER is still a way to monitor… that’s still a requirement,” said Moser.

HB 333 now goes to the full House for consideration.

–END–

The Next Big Brain Cancer Drug Could Come from Marijuana


Sy Mukherjee

9:44 PM Central

Image result for marijuana

GW Pharmaceuticals (gwph, +2.63%) is already well on its way to winning the first-ever U.S. approval for a cannabis-derived therapy. But an early trial suggests that these treatments could also be an effective way to fight one of most devastating forms of brain cancers: glioblastoma multiforme.

The U.K.-based company unveiled preliminary data Tuesday from a mid-stage study on an experimental drug combining cannabidiol and THC, the “high” producing element of marijuana. Results so far show that the drug boosted brain cancer patients’ median survival rates by about six months compared to a placebo. Typically, this type of cancer ravages the brain and (on average) leaves 70% of patients dead within two years of being diagnosed.

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“We believe that the signals of efficacy demonstrated in this study further reinforce the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology and provide GW with the prospect of a new and distinct cannabinoid product candidate in the treatment of glioma,” GW CEO Justin Gover said in a statement.

GW is already interpreting the results as a reason to expand its foray into cancer treatment. The company’s most advanced drug candidate, Epidiolex (for treatment of severe epilepsy related to a number of rare disorders), is closest to reaching the U.S. market. But the firm has staked out more far-reaching ambitions in an environment where cannabis-based products have been increasingly accepted.

For one, Gover thinks that cannabidiol-based therapies show plenty of promise in behavioral disorders like schizophrenia, he told Fortune last year.

Marijuana’s effect on cancer still isn’t all that clear. A big recent review by American scientists suggests the drug is effective for treating pain and nausea in cancer patients but doesn’t necessarily treat (or cause) cancer. However, GW’s drug isn’t just a bowl of weed to be smoked – it contains concentrated derivatives and is undergoing the kind of clinical testing that could provide insights hampered by U.S. policy towards studying cannabis.

CONTINUE READING…

http://fortune.com/2016/09/26/gw-pharmaceuticals-marijuana-therapy/

Embattled Doc Suffers Another Setback in PHS Fight


Pauline Anderson

January 27, 2017

Michael Langan, MD, a Boston-based internal medicine specialist who has fought the Massachusetts Physician Health Service (PHS) and Board of Registration in Medicine for years to reinstate his license, has suffered a setback but is bolstered by a new development.

A justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has denied Dr Langan’s petition to invalidate the 2013 suspension of his medical license for not meeting conditions to have his license reinstated.

However, a new law has enabled Dr Langan to access his records. According to Dr Langan, these documents show that the court did not consider key evidence in his case, as demonstrated by the fact that his hearing occurred before the date of receipt that is stamped on the documents. This may offer an opportunity to reopen his case.

The court decision, which was handed down in December by Associate Justice Geraldine Hines, states that although Dr Langan completed required psychiatric evaluations, he “did not submit a suitable worksite or substance abuse monitoring plan. In combination with his violation of the LoA [Letter of Agreement] meeting requirement, the board’s decision to affirm its prior suspension of petitioner’s license to practice medicine is supported by the record. The board’s decision to deny reinstatement in the absence of an acceptable plan is affirmed.”

“It’s unbelievable; everyone is dumbfounded,” said Dr Langan of the decision.

Dr Langan is appealing the denial of his petition, a process that will take an estimated 6 months.

He maintains that the PHS committed “forensic fraud” and concealed doing so.

“If I couldn’t win with all the direct evidence of felony crimes that you don’t need to be a lawyer to recognize, then I don’t think anyone can,” he told Medscape Medical News.

The PHS is a confidential resource for physicians and medical students seeking help for a variety of physical and behavioral health concerns, which may include difficulties with substance use.

In 2007, Dr Langan was at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard University when he approached the PHS to help him with his dependence on Vicodin, an opioid analgesic.

He became dependent on Vicodin after a bout of chickenpox during residency, when he developed shingles. He stressed that there were no work-related problems associated with use of this drug.

He was an inpatient at the Talbott Recovery Center in Georgia for more than 3 months, after which he signed the requisite 5-year contract with the PHS that included regular drug testing.

According to Dr Langan, there were no problems until mid-2011, when a report from the US Drug Testing Laboratories found he was positive for phosphatidylethanol (PEth), a blood marker for chronic alcohol use.

The level detected was 365.4 ng/mL, which “is the equivalent of drinking a half gallon of whisky a day,” or a sign of end-stage alcoholism, said Dr Langan, who insists he has never had an alcohol problem.

“That the test was invalid at this point should have been self-evident,” said Dr Langan.

Lab Fraud? Continue Reading

Suspecting that there had been “lab fraud” and that he would “end up being admitted for 3 months,” Dr Langan said he requested, but was denied, an independent evaluation outside the 12-step PHP-approved list of facilities. Because his request was denied, he attended one of the approved facilities, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center, in Minnesota, where he “was cleared.”

“They noted no past or present history of alcohol use or abuse and sent me back after a 4-day evaluation,” he said.

An independent investigation by James G. Flood, PhD, who has been chief of toxicology at MGH for nearly 30 years, concluded in a November 5, 2012, letter to Dr Langan’s lawyer “that there is a purposeful and intentional act by PHS” to show Dr Langan’s test as valid “when in reality this test was invalid and involved both fatal laboratory errors” and inadequate review of the results.

Any confirmatory, positive finding based on the July 2011 test “should be reversed, rectified and remediated,” Dr Flood writes.

Among the “many errors in sample collection, processing and transportation,” said Dr Flood, was that the documentation that was received with the specimen did not have a date and time of specimen collection. Moreover, the person who collected the specimen was not properly identified, the signature of the sample donor was missing, and there was no tamper-proof seal affixed to the specimen.

Dr Flood claims the sample was directed to the wrong laboratory, where it sat for several days. The storage conditions of the sample while at that laboratory were not documented.

Following an investigation by the College of American Pathologists, in October 2012, Dr Langan’s laboratory test result was corrected from having a positive result to being an invalid test, but he said he did not learn of this change until months later.

In a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, Luis T. Sanchez, MD, who at the time was the director of the Massachusetts PHS, said the amended report indicates that the “external chain of custody protocol [for that sample] was not followed per standard protocol.”

Dr Sanchez noted that, on the basis of the revised report, “PHS will continue to disregard the July 2011 PEth test result.”

Dr Langan requested the record of the chain of custody pertaining to his testing. This document showed that the test was “not only invalid but falsely created,” said Dr Langan. He added that it included a fax from the PHS requesting that his identification number be added to an already positive test and that the chain of custody be updated.

“You can’t update a chain of custody, as it is generated in real time,” said Dr Langan. “This is forensic fraud. It clearly shows collusion between the PHS and the lab.”

In an October 2012 letter, Dr Sanchez alleged that Dr Langan did not attend required peer support group meetings, but according to Dr Langan, this claim is “without fact or support.” Dr Langan maintains that he attended all required meetings. He also maintains that the PHS actions were in “retaliation” for requesting the chain of custody record.

Massachusetts PHS Director Dr Sanchez did not respond to a request from Medscape Medical News for clarification.

Medscape Medical News also sought comment on recent developments in Dr Langan’s case from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, which declined to comment.

“The AG’s [Attorney General’s] Office often defends state agencies in litigation and we typically do not comment on behalf of our clients, who in this case is the Board of Registration in Medicine,” Emily Snyder, deputy press secretary, Office of Massachusetts Attorney General, told Medscape Medical News in an email.

Intentional Delay?

Dr Langan alleges that the PHS “intentionally delayed” his efforts to undergo a psychiatric evaluation that was necessary to have his license reinstated. He said the PHS insisted he get this evaluation out of state, even though he suggested three Boston-area board-certified experts.

The Board of Registration in Medicine eventually approved an evaluation by Patricia Recupero, MD, from the Law and Behavioral Health Program at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr Recupero’s November 2013 report determined that Dr Langan “is safe to return to the practice of medicine without further supervision,” that he “has an excellent prognosis and a very low risk of relapse,” and he “has not had an alcohol use, abuse or dependence problem.”

Many of the conflicts between the PHS and Dr Langan revolve around positive test findings, Dr Recupero notes in her letter.

It is “critical to understand” the inadequacies of such tests for physician monitoring for purposes of relapse, she notes. She added that the source of the alcohol in Dr Langan’s test results cannot be determined and that many products – mouthwash and hand sanitizers among them – can create a false-positive test.

Dr Langan acknowledges he used hand sanitizers in the course of his work as a physician. Owing to severe allergies, he also uses prescribed asthma inhalers, which contain alcohol as a propellant.

Dr Recupero also notes that “almost without exception,” Dr Langan’s test findings have been below the minimum level to declare a test positive and that positive findings “are not a sign of relapse.”

It was her opinion that, should he require additional treatment and supervision, the PHS should not be involved. A spokesperson for the PHS confirmed that it has not been involved in matters related to Dr Langan for at least 3 years.

Dr Langan said that since it suspended his medical license, the board has “engaged in a persistent pattern of ignoring my every reasonable effort at trying to be reinstated” and has “abused the administrative law process to accomplish this.”

Medscape Medical News contacted the Massachusetts medical board as well as its counsel, Deb Stoller, but received no response.

“Close to Homeless”

A memorandum to the Supreme Judicial Court, filed May 13, 2016, proposed a settlement between Dr Langan and the board. In return for the immediate reinstatement of Dr Langan’s license, he would be monitored for a maximum of 3 months by Dr Recupero and Timothy E. Wilens, MD, codirector of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH.

That memorandum was accompanied by letters from Dr Recupero and Dr Wilens agreeing to the terms, but according to Dr Langan, it has been “ignored.”

“The board did not acknowledge or address the proposals in any way,” said Dr Langan.

Dr Langan maintains that he “never ever” had any patient care or malpractice problems during his 15 years at MGH. In fact, his supervisors and colleagues reported that his work performance has been “superlative” on all counts, he said.

Many in the addiction medicine and psychiatric community support Dr Langan. He has letters from high-profile physicians in the field who verify that he is safe to practice medicine.

A first petition was filed in the Supreme Court on October 22, 2014, but the judge dismissed it because it had not been filed within the required 60-day period. Dr Langan’s most recent petition was filed July 3, 2015.

The past few years, he said, have taken a toll on his family. They have lost their home and health insurance because of his inability to practice his profession.

Disheartened by this latest setback, Dr Langan is looking into the possibility of becoming licensed in another state and leaving Massachusetts.

But Dr Langan has renewed hope. Under Massachusetts’ new Public Records Reform Law, which went into effect January 1, 2017, “the board was forced to comply with my request for records within 10 days,” and has done so, he said.

According to Dr Langan, these records show some irregularities that may bolster his case.

“A letter dated December 15, 2011, introducing exculpatory evidence was date-stamped January 17, 2012, almost 1 month after the hearing where it was submitted as evidence. All of the other documents had either illegible or absent date-stamps,” he said.

CONTINUE READING…

U.S. Attorney General addresses opioid, heroin addiction during Richmond town hall


BY CRITLEY KING CNHI News Service

Lynch

RICHMOND — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke to a crowded auditorium at a Town Hall meeting in Richmond as part of the Obama Administration’s newly designated National Prescription Opium and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.

The audience, mainly consisting of young people, was addressed on the dangers of heroin and opioid addiction, the pathways that lead to destruction, and the redeeming hope that help is available.

“I want to hear your questions, I want to hear your comments, I want to hear your ideas about how we can solve this (crisis), and about how we can prevent this,” said Lynch on Tuesday at Madison Central High School. “It’s not just putting people in jail, its about stopping it before it happens. And making sure people that do have a problem get treated.”

In her opening comments, Lynch asked the nearly 500 students if they had been considering where they would go to college, what careers they had planned for their futures, whether as journalists, doctors, law enforcement, teachers or fashion bloggers.

Then, Lynch told the students to look around at their classmates and friends and asked them to consider that last year, in Kentucky, approximately 12,000 died from opioid and heroin abuse overdoses.

“Imagine if all of you and others who fill these chairs were suddenly gone,” said Lynch. “And then that each of you had a friend, just one of your friends each, all gone. That’s what happened last year in Kentucky. That’s why this is so important.”

The chief law enforcement officer in the U.S. spoke about not only the problem of substance abuse and how to stop it, but also how to prevent it from even starting.

Lynch also put out a call to action to the students.

“We are talking to young people like you, because you have a role in this effort,” she said. “We want you to understand the issues, we went you to understand how serious it is, and we went to give you the information you need to make good choices in your own life. We also need you to look out for each other.”

During a question and answer session with local high school students, Kayla Greene, who lost her son to overdose, Tonya Snyder, MCHS social worker, Alex Elswick, a recovered addict, and MCHS student Julia Rahimzadeh, joined Lynch onstage.

Later in the day, Lynch traveled to make remarks at the University of Kentucky. Both events were part of the awareness week and the President’s Cabinet and Federal agencies’ focus on work being done/new efforts to address the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, according to a release by the Office of the Press Secretary.

The release also noted that Federal agencies are currently taking actions such as:

Expanding substance abuse treatment in the TRICARE system so that it includes intensive outpatient programs and treatment of opioid disorders with medication-assisted treatment.

Working with the Chinese government to combat the supply of fentanyl and its analogues from entering the U.S.

Increasing patient limits from 100 to 275 for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorders.

Support programs that increase access to healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and educational opportunities in rural areas, such as telemedicine and distance learning.

Currently, the President is seeking $1.1 billion in new funding to combat opioid abuse.

During a press conference following the town hall meeting, Lynch told The Register, that one of the ways the Department of Justice funding specifically would assist communities on a local level would be through a grant making process that provides assistance to law enforcement through grants for additional officers, resources to help states improve their prescription drug monitoring programs and provide examples of programs that are working efficiently and consistently.

Lynch reiterated that administration wide, when treatment is spoken of, they are referring to improving and increasing the availability of treatment facilities and also treatment within local hospitals.

Critley King writes for The Richmond Register.

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It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies


By Dr. Nicholas Kardaras

August 27, 2016 | 7:54pm

 

Image result for IPAD FOR KIDS

“I walked into his room to check on him. He was supposed to be sleeping — and I was just so frightened…”

She found him sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him. He seemed to be in a trance. Beside herself with panic, Susan had to shake the boy repeatedly to snap him out of it. Distraught, she could not understand how her once-healthy and happy little boy had become so addicted to the game that he wound up in a catatonic stupor.

There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

PLEASE CONTINUE READING…

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…

    Cannabis-Related Disorders


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    Background

    In January, 2014, Colorado became the first state in the United States to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, marking the beginning of what will likely become the end of marijuana prohibition. Marijuana was legal in the United States until 1937, when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, effectively making the drug illegal. The American Medical Association (AMA) opposed the legislation at the time of its passage. Additionally, from 1850-1942, marijuana was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia, the official list of recognized medical drugs . Cannabis was marketed as extract or tincture by several pharmaceutical companies and used for ailments such as anxiety and lack of appetite.

    Despite the medical establishment’s views on the benefits of marijuana, the passage of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, defined as a category of drugs not considered legitimate for medical use. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, phencyclidine(PCP), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).[1]

    A significant paradox and disconnect continues to exist between the federal government’s outdated policies versus changing state laws, the general public’s perception and acceptance of marijuana, and even the President himself. In discussing his own marijuana use with New Yorker editor David Remnick, President Obama commented, "As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol." He elaborated that marijuana was actually less dangerous than alcohol "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."[2]

    Currently, 21 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, with many others actively considering the issue. Additionally, a recent survey by NBC News/The Wall Street Journal shows that the majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana.[3] Recent federal policy changes have attempted to redress the inconsistencies between federal and state law. In 2009, the Justice Department issued a federal medical marijuana policy memo to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and US Attorneys instructing prosecutors not to target medicinal marijuana patients and their providers for federal prosecution in states where medicinal marijuana has been legalized. In the summer of 2010, the Department of Veteran Affairs issued a department directive to "formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification that veterans have sought for years."[4]

    In the Netherlands, where the distribution of marijuana has been legalized, the effect of decriminalization has had little effect on the consumption rate of cannabis.[5] In 2004, Reinarman et al looked at the consumption of marijuana rates between San Francisco and Amsterdam to see what effect decriminalization had on these different populations.[6] The results showed that the consumption habits between the two populations were negligible. Little evidence has shown that the decriminalization of cannabis has changed the consumption habits of the populations involved.[7]

    While there is a rich history of anecdotal accounts of the benefits of marijuana and a long tradition of marijuana being used for a variety of ailments, the scientific literature in support of medicinal uses of marijuana is less substantial. Considered one of the first scientifically valid papers in support of marijuana’s medicinal benefit, in 2007, Dr. Donald Abrams and colleagues published the results of a randomized placebo-controlled trial examining the effect of smoked cannabis on the neuropathic pain of HIV-associated sensory neuropathy and an experimental pain model. The authors concluded that smoked cannabis effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain in HIV-associated sensory neuropathy and was well tolerated by patients. The pain relief was comparable to chronic neuropathic pain treated with oral drugs.[8]

    According to Harvard Medical School’s April, 2010 edition of the Harvard Mental Health Letter[9] : Consensus exists that marijuana may be helpful in treating certain carefully defined medical conditions. In its comprehensive 1999 review, for example, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that marijuana may be modestly effective for pain relief (particularly nerve pain), appetite stimulation for people with AIDS wasting syndrome, and control of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.

    These widely held beliefs in the medical community supporting the medicinal benefit of marijuana are starting to gain support in the form of rigorous empirical evidence demonstrating its clinical benefit and limited potential for harm. In 2012, the AMA published a landmark study that followed more than 5,000 patients longitudinally over 20 years. The results of the study were somewhat surprising. Although many had assumed that regular exposure to marijuana smoke would result in pulmonary function damage, similar to the deleterious effects seen with regular tobacco smoke exposure, the study convincingly demonstrated that regular exposure to marijuana smoke did not adversely affect lung function. Even more surprising, regular marijuana smokers demonstrated increased total lung function capacity.

    The authors report, “Marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood, and management of other chronic symptoms. Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function.”[10]

    The AMA is urging the federal government to change the classification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug to enable further clinical research on marijuana. Additionally, Harvard Mental Health Letter’s authors point out that while marijuana works to relieve pain, suppress nausea, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and act as a sedative, the evidence that marijuana may be an effective treatment for psychiatric indications is inconclusive.[11]

    In a recently published systematic review published as a “Report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology”, the authors performed a systematic review of medical marijuana from 1948 to November 2013 to identify the role of medical marijuana in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), epilepsy and, movement disorders. The authors concluded that medical marijuana was found to be effective for treating MS-related pain or painful spasms.[11]

    While marijuana may have medicinal benefits, its use in excess by some individuals can lead to marked impairment in social and occupational functioning. Published in 2013, the fifth edition of TheDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included significant changes to substance-related and addictive disorders. DSM-5 combined the previously separate categories of substance abuse and dependence into a single disorder of substance use, specific to the substance (eg, Alcohol Use Disorder, Cannabis Use Disorder)

    DSM-5 recognizes the following 5 cannabis-associated disorders[12] :

    • Cannabis Use Disorder

    • Cannabis Intoxication

    • Cannabis Withdrawal

    • Other Cannabis-Induced Disorders

    • Unspecified Cannabis-Related Disorder

    CONTINUE READING….

    Please review the article in it’s entirety online thru link above.  There are many people vying for the "Cannabis use disorder" syndrome for the purpose of promoting physician care and pharmaceutical drugs. In my opinion this is because they need something new to pick up the slack in their business because Cannabis legalization  is continuing to grow across the Nation.

    Be aware of what your Physician is trying to do to you with this Diagnosis code which will be permanently instilled into your medical records, along with your prescription drug use thru the monitoring programs now in existence.

    We are being wrapped up nice and tight with a new bow tie….CANNABIS ABUSE.

    These additional articles previously posted on site are also related to this issue: (smk)

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/06/26/marijuana-addiction-drug-research-gets-3-million-grant-as-obama-encourages-legalization/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/06/26/the-protection-of-commerce-in-the-form-of-pharmaceutical-industrial-complex/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/06/22/docs-dont-like-medical-marijuana/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2013/01/06/patrick-kennedy-on-marijuana-former-rep-leads-campaign-against-legal-pot/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2012/07/13/why-do-clinics-deny-painkillers-to-medical-marijuana-patients/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2012/05/30/government-forced-nci-to-censor-medical-cannabis-facts/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/24/all-roads-in-kentucky-lead-you-through-hell/

    https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/09/14/a-summary-of-two-doctors/

    Opiate Users Needed for Research Studies (Lexington, KY)


    Do you currently use drugs like Lortab, Percocet, Oxycontin, or heroin to get high?

    Researchers at the University of Kentucky are conducting a study to examine the strength and effects of prescription opioids. You may be eligible to participate if you are between the ages of 18 and 50, you have taken opioid drugs intranasally (by snorting them), and you can stop using opioids without feeling sick. Participation will require a 5-6 week inpatient stay. Qualified volunteers will be paid for participation. All information is kept strictly confidential. For a confidential interview to see if you qualify, please call: 1-866-933-4UKY.

    CONTINUE READING…

    human brain grown in a jar? apparently, yes…


    Modern science is the stuff of a Frankenstein nightmare with the promise of growing a brain in a jar

    Can you grow a brain in a jar? Scientists claim they’ve done just that. And the implication could not be more chilling

    By John Nash For The Daily Mail

    Published: 19:09 EST, 20 August 2015 | Updated: 20:04 EST, 20 August 2015

    This is the stuff of Frankenstein nightmares. Imagine yourself as a functioning brain kept in a laboratory jar. White-coated scientists are torturing you by feeding an endless stream of terrifying images and sensations into your nervous system.

    Even if you could cry out for help — no one could legally come to your rescue.

    For years, philosophers have pondered the ethics of conducting such Nazi-style experiments, as a theoretical basis for moral arguments. But this issue is no longer theoretical. The age of a human brain in a jar is fast becoming reality.

    This week, American biologists announced that they had crossed a critical threshold in the science of growing a human brain and keeping it alive in a laboratory.

    Rene Anand, a professor of biological chemistry and pharmacology at Ohio State University, astonished military experts by announcing that his team has successfully grown a near-exact replica of a five-week-old foetus’s brain.

    It is only about the size of a pencil rubber. But it contains 99 pc of the cells that would exist in the brain of a human foetus, making it the most fully formed brain ‘model’ ever engineered.

    It even has its own spinal cord and the beginnings of an eye, Professor Anand told the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    He has engineered the brain using stem-cell technology, which involved turning adult skin cells into stem cells which are capable of growing into any type of body tissue. It is a breakthrough that paves the way to cloning human brains.

    The work is not finished. Prof Anand now plans to continue growing his lab brain until it resembles that of a 12-week-old fetus.

    RELATED

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3205485/Can-grow-brain-jar-Scientists-claim-ve-just-implication-not-chilling.html#ixzz3jRiUwp00
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3205485/Can-grow-brain-jar-Scientists-claim-ve-just-implication-not-chilling.html#ixzz3jRiNhacE
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    We have to stop the Government from abusing our children!


    Sumner (center) has lunch with students at John G. Carlisle School in Covington with Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn (left) and Superintentendent Alvin Garrison (right) (RCN file)

    Not only do they profile us as adults, they do it to our children as well!  And it seems to me that all children are being approached and prosecuted similar if not exactly like adults, no matter the offense. 

    We as parents have to fight for our children not to be abused while in custody of State and/or Federal Authorities.  The schools continue to be a breeding ground for abuse of children by school teachers and other officials, counselors, etc.., And then law enforcement can come in right behind them and traumatize a child at will.  When did we loose the right to protect our children from harm?  Why do we have to sit here and watch while our children are being abused right before our eyes?  The whole scenario is out of control.  It would seem that although these actions are illegal they are still being used with no repercussions.

    "Kentucky’s school personnel are prohibited from using restraints, especially mechanical restraints, to punish children or as a way to force behavior compliance," said Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, in a statement. LINK

    There have been two incidents brought out in the media in the past few days in Kentucky which blatantly show the need for Officer’s to be much better trained on  procedures for dealing with a "out of control" child.  If they are not trained or are otherwise unable to render the type of service needed from an Officer in this type of environment then they should not be assigned to those duties.

    S.R., a male minor, 8 years old and 52 pounds at the time of the incident who suffers from PTSD and ADHD, and L.G., a female minor, 9 years old and 56 pounds at the time of her trauma who has PTSD as well, whose Mother’s have both filed suit against the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Sheriff of Kenton County Charles Korzenborn and Kevin Sumner, the school Resource Officer  in question has been named both personally and professionally.

    The suit alleges violation of rights under the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Allegedly L.G., suffered at the hands of Officer Sumner on not one but two separate occasions in the Fall of 2014.  Sumner was recorded in a video while abusing one of them.  They were both handcuffed behind their backs at the biceps.  This procedure is not justified.

    In a report referred to in the law suit the U.S. Government Accountability Office states that during the period of 1990 to 2009 there were hundreds of complaints of restraint and "seclusion" in schools and at least 20 are known to have resulted in death.

    In 2012 the Kentucky Board of Education limited the use of physical restraint to those incidents in which the Student "poses an imminent danger of physical harm to self or others".  This "regulation" became active in 2013.

    The Kenton County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement in support of Sumner, stressing that "all the facts and circumstances have not yet been presented."

    S.R., was in the third grade at Latonia Elementary School at the time of the incident.  According to CRDC 20% of the Student’s at Latonia have mental disabilities.

    In an "Investigation Report" written months later Sumner claims that S.R., attempted to strike him with his elbow, however, he managed to block the hit.

    The suit claims there was no "direct threat justification" for placement of the child into handcuffs.

    L.G., suffered two incidents, the first of which was August 21, 2014 when she was placed in the "in school suspension" room where she continued to be disruptive at which time Sumner proceeded to place her in his patrol car, drive her home, and wait in the driveway for an hour before her Mother came home. 

    On October 3, 2014 once again L.G., was placed into the "in school suspension" room where she continued to be disruptive.  She was then escorted to an "isolation room".  When she tried to exit the room she was physically detained by the Principal and Vice Principal.  Officer Sumner was summoned to the disruption and handcuffed L.G., for 20 minutes.

    In an "Investigation Report" Officer Sumner claims that he handcuffed her because "she attempted to harm school staff while being restrained".  The child suffered a severe mental crisis at that time and was transported to the hospital.

    Again, the suit claims there was no "direct threat justification" for placement of the child into handcuffs.

    The "Causes of Action" include:

    Count I – Unreasonable seizure and Excessive Force under the U.S. Constitution, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    Count II – Disability based discrimination in Violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Count III – Disabilities based Failure to Accommodate in Violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    The "prayer of relief" includes:

    Declare that the actions and inactions described herein violate the rights of the Plaintiff’s S.R., and L.G., under the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Issue an order enjoining the Defendant’s from engaging in the unlawful conduct complained of herein.

    Compensatory Damages,

    Punitive Damages,

    All Costs,

    Any further relief that the Court deems just and proper. 

    It is signed by William F. Sharp, Legal Director, ACLU Kentucky,

    Rickell L. Howard,  Attorney,

    R. Kenyon Meyer,  Attorney,

    Claudia Center, Susan Mizner, ACLU Foundation.

    According to LouisvillePeace.org Departments have vague "use of force" policies that allow officers to interpret them the way they want.  This has to change.  Our children’s lives are depending upon it.

    Shackling children is not OK. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal,” Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement. “Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children. It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school’s role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.”

    The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit and posted the videos, said it was a classic example of the “school to prison pipeline,” one of the driving forces in this country’s economy, which has the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized nation in the world.

    Today more than ever we have to live with the fact that many of our children are developmentally and/or mentally challenged.  There are so many mental health issues and Autism is now projected to be affecting  possibly 1 in 68 children. 

  • Autism Prevalence. On March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).Apr 1, 2014

    Autism Prevalence | Autism Speaks

    https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/prevalence

  • Kentucky Kid

    https://www.facebook.com/francis.balducci?fref=ts

    Francis John Balducci

    7 hrs ·

    I am a retired police officer from the NYPD. I served 20 years, nearly half of which in the streets of the South Bronx. This message goes out to school officials of the John G. Carlisle Elementary School and the Latonia Elementary School and, especially, the Kentucky-Fried Idiot named Kevin Sumner and the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office. Children, with or without disabilities, should never be handcuffed simply because they are "acting out." It is–or it should be–within a professional police officer’s training and expertise to properly and constructively communicate with young people to effectively reach them particularly when they are misbehaving. It is extremely traumatizing and damaging to place children in handcuffs, it is highly counter-productive, and it singularly labels them as criminals while it establishes and reinforces police officers as adversaries. He swung at your elbow, Kevin? Really? That is absolutely no excuse. In similar circumstances, no police officer would ever handcuff your child–not a professional one, no–and it is shameful that you did not afford the parents of those children that you handcuffed the same courtesy and respect. Overall, it amazes me that you would do such a stupid, reckless thing at a time when police officers around the country are making serious efforts to improve community relations that have been exponentially deteriorating throughout recent years. You are a thug as far as I’m concerned.

    ACLU: Deputy sued for handcuffing disabled children – CNN.com

    A Kentucky sheriff’s deputy faces a lawsuit for handcuffing elementary school children who were acting out as a result of their disabilities, the ACLU says

    cnn.com|By Holly Yan, CNN

    22 Likes7 Comments

    Like

    Share

  • Dulce Baez Wow! It’s a shame.

    Like · 1 · 5 hrs

  • Blair Winston Christ, but I hate bullies and cowards. Fully functioning professionals do not behave like this.

    Like · 1 · 4 hrs

  • Letty Cruz Thank you.

    Like · 1 · 3 hrs

  • Francis John Balducci As a cop, I had to connect with people, some with social disorders that weren’t even named at that time. I deflected bad behavior, and I somehow gently gained voluntary compliance from the worst of situations–which included a huge number of school fig…See More

    Unlike · 2 · 2 hrs

    Francis John Balducci Thank you, Letty. I love you and Arthur. Miss you both!

    Like · 1 · 2 hrs

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    We have received some messages, reviews, and Tweets today regarding a law suit against a Kenton County law enforcement…

    Posted by Kenton County Police Department on Monday, August 3, 2015

    Other abuse cases:

    September 15, 2014:   

    17-yr.-old In Critical Condition After Window Malfunction Leads to Tasering During Traffic Stop
    Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/17-yr-old-pulled-car-tased-left-critical-condition-rolling-window-witness-window-work/#pw316WTFm6pyflle.99

     

    Sources of information:

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/4532_001.pdf

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/08/04/3687939/kentucky-officer-shackles-kids/

    http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/08/kentucky-deputy-sued-for-placing-crying-disabled-8-year-old-boy-in-handcuffs-to-teach-him-a-lesson/

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/04/us/aclu-disabled-students-handcuffed-lawsuit/

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/color_of_law

    http://infocenter.nimh.nih.gov/nimh/product/Treatment-of-Children-with-Mental-Illness-Frequently-asked-questions-about-the-treatment-of-mental-illness-in-children/NIH%2009-4702R

    http://www.louisvillepeace.org/citizens-against-police-abuse-capa—frequently-asked-questions.html

    https://www.facebook.com/sheriffkorzenborn

    http://www.autistichoya.com/2013/01/judge-rotenberg-center-survivors-letter.html

    Robin Rider-Osborne

    Robin Rider-Osborne contributed to this story.  She also posts Northern Kentucky News on Facebook.